Belarus looks for investor to develop Okolovo iron ore deposit

Belarus is considering launching on March 15th 2011 an international tender for the right to sign an investment agreement for the industrial development of its Okolovo iron ore deposit, including the establishment of a mining and processing integrated works to produce iron-rich pellets.

Accordingly, the implementation of the project provides for the construction of the integrated works composed of four organizational units: mine, iron ore beneficiation plant, palletizing plant, and metal coating mill, with pellets to be supplied to the country's steelmaking company Byelorussian Iron and Steel Works as well as being exported. The total project cost is estimated at about USD 1.8 billion.

Belarus' Ministry of Industry stated that "One of the strategic solutions to solve the problem of the provision of the domestic steel industry with raw materials is the development of domestic iron ore deposits and the production of iron-rich pellets with utilization of environmentally friendly technologies of DRI [direct reduced iron]. Related or similar projects are absent in the Republic of Belarus.

The selection of the successful bidder is scheduled for October 4, 2011, with the project implementation period planned to last for up to 5 years.

Iron ore reserves in the Okolovo deposit are estimated at 145.4 million tonne. The planned mining output of the deposit is no less than four million tonne of iron ore annually.

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