Belarus eyes $5.76 bln natural resources tenders

MINSK/MOSCOW, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Belarus is planning to launch tenders for five natural resource projects from which it hopes to bring in foreign investment worth $5.76 billion, the Natural Resources Ministry said on Monday.

The projects, announced on the ministry's website, include brown coal, iron-rich pellets and oil shale.

Ex-Soviet Belarus, where the government runs a mostly command economy, is trying to boost foreign direct investment as it is running budget and current account deficits and seeking to ease its dependence on neighbouring Russia. [ID:nLDE7121BV]

However, investors are cautious since Minsk has yet to build a track record as an investor-friendly nation.

This month, President Alexander Lukashenko accused Danone-controlled (DANO.PA: Quote) milk producer Unimilk of breaching agreements with the government and threatened to expel it from Belarus [ID:nLDE712214].

"The proposed scheme is 'Design, Build, Finance and Operate'," project presentations say.

The government plans to run most tenders in mid-March, according to the papers, and name winners in October.

It does not include a potash project mentioned by Lukashenko last month. Lukashenko has said a foreign investor was ready to spend $2 billion on the development of an unnamed potash deposit. (Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Ron Askew)


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