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Putin Calls for Licensing Transparency, Support for Miners

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for more transparent licensing procedures for coal deposits as producers seek to upgrade and expand.

There are “lots of questions to the corresponding government bodies” about the licensing process, Putin said today at a meeting with coal miners in Moscow. “Much needs to be done so this work can be carried out on a modern, decent level, without any corruption schemes.”

The licensing process should be simpler and transparent so companies could more easily expand their activities at deposits where they are already working, Putin said, noting the success of OAO Mechel, the country’s largest coking coal producer, in developing the Elga deposit.

Russia will not leave its miners without support as the global economic crisis damps demand, Putin said, meeting with coal-industry workers.

Shares in Mechel, which also produces steel, fell 2.1 percent to 209 rubles by 5:45 p.m. in Moscow, its lowest intraday price since Aug. 3. OAO Novolipetsk Steel dropped 2.4 percent and the 30-stock Micex Index declined 1 percent.

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