Mechel completes rail link to huge coking coal deposit
Russian steel and mining company Mechel has completed the 321 km rail track linking its Elga coking coal mine, which sits one of the world's largest coking coal deposits, to the main Siberian rail network, the company said in a statement late Wednesday.
The new tracks, which have so far cost $1.25 billion to lay, link the deposit to Ulak station on the Baikal-Amur Mainline.
Some 70 contractors were involved in the construction work in "difficult climatic and geological conditions," Mechel said, adding that the line includes 76 bridges. The railway was completed in December 2011.
Open pit mining at Elga began in August 2011 with 200,000 mt of coal mined by the end of 2011.
"The launch of direct railway access to Elga Coal Complex will in 2012 significantly facilitate delivery of material necessary to increase production at Elga," Mechel Chairman Igor Zyuzin said.
Elga is located in the southeast of Yakutia, 415 km east of the city of Neryungri and 320 km north of Verkhnezeysk village in the central part of Toko Coal-Bearing region.
The Elga coal deposit can be worked by surface mining methods using high-capacity draglines, excavators and trucks, Mechel said on its website. The project includes construction of coal processing facilities as well as further open pit infrastructure development.
Elga will mine and wash high-volatile, high-fluidity coking coal with low sulfur, nitrogen and phosphorus content and high calorific value as well as oxidized coals with high calorific value, which will be marketed as thermal coals.
The mine's output is expected to grow to close to 7 million mt/year by 2015, including 2.4 million mt of metallurgical coal and 4.3 million mt of thermal coal.