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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dutch Group to Invest in Irkutsk Coal

AMSTERDAM -- A Dutch investor group has agreed to invest more than $100 million in the Irkutsk region to exploit coal and potassium salt as well as to convert coal to liquid fuel.

The group plans to invest $50 million in the first 18 months for geological research and project development, with the investment rising to over $100 million for exploitation, processing and setting up a sales network. The aim is also to bring leading-edge coal-to-liquid technology to Russia.

Dutch entrepreneur Roel Pieper, who manages investment company ETIRC, said Friday that the group hoped to avoid problems such as those faced by Shell with its Sakhalin-2 project.

"By being a public-private partnership we start out differently," Pieper said.

"We have set aside money for the environment ... as part of the business model. We have government officials in the board right from the beginning."

Pieper said the Irkutsk project also involved Russian Railways, which will extend tracks to serve the project.