AUSTRALIAN COMPANY TO INVEST IN NATURAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT IN RUSSIA

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MOSCOW, October 5 (RIA Novosti)-BHP Billiton, an Australian industrial company, is interested in making a large investment into natural resource development in Russia, an Industry and Energy Ministry press release quoted BHP Billiton CEO Charles Goodyear as saying at a meeting with Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko.

The sides discussed the possibility of the company participating in Russian oil and gas, metallurgy, coal and diamond projects.

Mr. Goodyear asked Mr. Khristenko to give the basic guidelines foreign companies should adhere to when investing in Russia. Answering the question, Mr. Khristenko said that it would be "hard to find a complete formula."

According to the press release, minister noted that it was important to have a good understanding of the regulations and laws of the relevant branches in Russia. "A clear understanding of the existing legislation and the main directions of its reform is needed," said Mr. Khristenko.

The minister said knowledge of the peculiarities of how the relevant Russian branches worked and signing of strategic partnerships with Russian companies were also important. In Mr. Khristenko's opinion, this would make it possible to use advantages when reforming legislation in nature management and reduce risks.

Besides, Mr. Khristenko said, strategic partnership with Russian companies opens possibilities for cooperation between companies in third countries.

Mr. Goodyear said that this was in line with BHP Billiton's expectations and principles.

The minister said he was ready to continue cooperation with the Australian company. "Foreign investments remain welcome," the press release quoted the minister as saying, "strategic investors, large companies with their own history of doing business and positioning themselves on the market, are as well."

In Mr. Khristenko's opinion, strategic partnerships contribute to the improvement of Russian companies' positions on internationalcommodity and stock trading site.

BHP Billiton is the world's largest diversified company engaged in producing and using natural resources. It has over 100 projects in 20 countries. In 2004, its turnover was $24.8 billion.

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