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Russia, South Africa Discuss Projects in Nuclear, LNG, Titanium

South Africa is discussing how Russia may supply the nation’s nuclear plant with fuel, plug an energy gap with liquefied natural gas shipments, and help process its mineral sands into titanium, Trade Minister Rob Davies said.

The two countries are looking to boost trade and investment as South African President Jacob Zuma leads a delegation of more than 50 politicians and businessmen to Russia this week. South Africa sees mining, energy and transport as areas where ties with Russia can grow, Davies said today in a Moscow interview.

“We see deepening relations with the BRIC countries,” Davies said, referring to Brazil, Russia, India and China, an acronym combining the biggest emerging markets. Trade between Russia and South Africa reached 4 billion rand ($550 million) in 2008, he said.

Tenex, a unit of Russian nuclear holding company Rosatom Corp., is in talks over supplying South Africa’s Koeberg power plant, Davies said. Russia is also interested in being involved should South Africa decide to build more plants, he said.

Russia may also deliver LNG to Mossel Bay, Davies said, without giving further details. PetroSA, South Africa’s state-owned oil company, needs to secure replacement supplies to feed the Mossel Bay refinery as its natural gas reserves dwindle.

South Africa also hopes to use Russian technology to develop a mineral sands deposit that could yield titanium, zirconium and silicon, Davies said. Rare Metals Industries Ltd., a venture with South African, Russian and U.S. investors, said in February it may list shares to fund the $1.5 billion cost of a processing plant needed to turn sands into metal.

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