Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday gave the green light to a new “megaproject” of Russian Railways for the construction of hundreds of kilometers of tracks and infrastructure for the export of coal from Yakutia to China.
In the Asia-Pacific market, “there is an additional demand that could be covered by Russian companies,” the president said opening a meeting on the development of the coal industry.
“It is important not to miss this moment,” he stressed. – To increase the export potential of the domestic coal industry ”.
At the end of last year, coal production in Russia fell by 9%, and exports – by 3%. Of the 199 million tons sold abroad, almost two-thirds went to Asia.
The lack of transport infrastructure hinders the export more: according to Russian Railways, 56 million tons of coal from the deposits of Eastern Siberia remain “superfluous” and do not fit into the possibilities of cargo transportation.
To solve the problem, the monopoly proposed a project worth 700 billion rubles ($ 9.6 billion) to expand the Baikal-Amur Mainline in the Tynda-Komsomolsk-Vanino section. It includes the creation of almost a thousand kilometers of main railway lines, the construction of a bridge over the Amur and the new Kuznetsovsky tunnel in the Khabarovsk Territory.
Putin approved the idea. “I instruct the government to submit additional proposals for the development of the eastern section of the Baikal-Amur Mainline. We are talking about increasing the export of coal from Yakutia to the east, “- quotes the president” Interfax “.
The money, according to Putin, can be taken from the National Welfare Fund. “In any case, I will have nothing against it,” the president assured. – You are welcome. If there is such a need ”.
As of February 1, according to the Ministry of Finance, the NWF had 13.547 trillion rubles, or 183.3 billion dollars.
A third of this money, however, has already been de facto spent – on the purchase of a controlling stake in Sberbank, Ukraine’s Eurobonds, injections into state banks and VEB, as well as “self-sustaining infrastructure projects”.
Free money in the fund – in the form of currency placed on the accounts of the Central Bank – remains $ 116.4 billion.
Last week, the Ministry of Finance announced that it had invested 15% of this amount in Chinese yuan.