Moscow bars ArcelorMittal from bidding for Siberian coalfields

Mumbai: Russian authorities have excluded ArcelorMittal from bidding for an auction in Moscow for two Siberian mining assets and have awarded that to Russia''s OAO Mechel for $2.29 billion, official sources said.

ArcelorMittal, the world''s biggest steelmaker together with Russian diamond monopoly ZAO Alrosa, was expected to bid in an auction for the world''s largest untapped coking coal deposits.

The two were to bid through a Russian-registered venture, ZAO Yakutskaya Ugolnaya Kompaniya, Nikita Prokopiev, spokesman for the regional government of Sakha, where the field is located, said.

Russian metals and mining firm OAO Mechel together with Sumitomo, Japan''s third-largest trading company, won the bid.

The third bidder was a Russian-registered company called OOO Kolor Partner that represents foreign investors.

Mechel Invest, a company representing Mechel, beat out Yakutskaya Ugolnaya Kompaniya, part of the diamond giant Alrosa, for controlling stakes in the two mines.

Russia''s Kommersant daily had earlier quoted Mechel CEO Alexei Ivanushkin as saying that the two major coal deposits, Elgaugol and Yakutugol, were "strategic" for Russia.

ArcelorMittal, which is based in Luxembourg, could have used the coal assets "as a means of applying pressure on Russian metals companies" and Russia''s "national interests" were at stake, he told Kommersant.