Putin proposes mining, energy cooperation with South Africa

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Russia and South Africa can boost cooperation in coal production and the construction of nuclear power plants, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.
(Recasts headline, adds paragraphs 5-10)

CAPE TOWN, September 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and South Africa can boost cooperation in coal production and the construction of nuclear power plants, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.

During the second day of his visit to Cape Town, where a number of partnership deals have been signed, Putin told an economic forum that now the legal base for partnership in civilian nuclear research had been established, South Africa could cooperate with the Nuclear Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

"Now we can advance and pay more attention to such practical fields as coal production and the construction and management of nuclear power plants," Putin said.

He added that Russian companies could offer unique design engineering technologies and highly skilled staff for partnership in the sector.

The Russian president highlighted prospects for bilateral mining cooperation and the development of South African natural resources.

He said Russian companies could invest and participate in exploration and prospecting work in the African country. Renova Capital, whose head Viktor Vekselberg is with a delegation accompanying the president, is already engaged in the development of manganese ore deposits in the Kalahari Basin in the northwest of the country.

Putin also called for cooperation in the oil and gas sector. "Our experts estimate Russian companies' involvement in prospecting work on the outer continental shelf could be advantageous to South Africa," he said.

The president also said there were certain plans for Russian supplies of liquefied gas to South Africa, while Russia was interested in the country's experience in converting accompanying gas into synthetic fuel.

South Africa has been proposed programs for the construction of ferroalloy smelting plants, assistance of Russian diamond producer Alrosa and the construction of an aluminum plant.

"I think, the issue is about investment worth hundreds of millions of dollars in several years, which can hit billions if we continue moving on this," Putin said.

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