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Mechel to ensure equal domestic and export coking coal prices - 2

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Russian mining giant Mechel pledged on Friday to sell coking coal at the same price domestically and abroad, a day after the prime minister criticized the company for overcharging in Russia.
(Extends Mechel statement in para 3)

MOSCOW, July 25 (RIA Novosti) - Russian mining giant Mechel pledged on Friday to sell coking coal at the same price domestically and abroad, a day after the prime minister criticized the company for overcharging in Russia.

Mechel said it is ready to hold price-forming dialogue with the authorities, and that it agrees with the Russian government's position that coking coal prices on the domestic market should not be higher than world prices.

The company also said in it statement it is ready to cooperate with the authorities, and provide full information on the issue.

Vladimir Putin put pressure on the company on Thursday at a metallurgy conference in the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod, saying Mechel sold raw materials abroad in the first quarter of 2008 at half the price of domestic sales.

The premier said the Federal Antimonopoly Service and the Investigation Committee under the Russian Prosecutor General's Office must look into Mechel's activities.

In mid-June, the service had launched an antimonopoly case against Mechel's subsidiaries after several checks of coking coal markets.

Mechel has several metal processing plants in Russia, Romania and Lithuania. It unites producers of coal, ore, nickel, steel and highly-processed steel products for domestic and foreign markets.

In 2007, the company's output totaled 21.2 million metric tons of coal and 5.1 million tons of rolled products.

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