Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said the government earlier this month met Oleg Deripaska, Russia’s wealthiest businessman, to discuss the sale of RTB Bor, the country’s largest copper mining and smelting complex.
Djelic said yesterday in an e-mailed response to news agency Bloomberg that Deripaska met him, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and a group of other officials on July 20 to discuss economic cooperation between Serbia and Russia and “also about the bid for Bor.” In late June, Deripaska’s company Basic Element urged the Serbian government to launch a new tender for RTB Bor after the Cabinet canceled a sale in April to Romania’s Cuprom copper refiner, saying the buyer failed to guarantee payment by a deadline. Serbia canceled the planned $400 million sale of Bor to Cuprom on April 25 which had outbid five other companies including Deripaska’s Basic Element for the RTB Bor.
The government last week agreed to try again and sell RTB Bor, which includes copper mines, smelters, a refinery, energy producer, foundry, quarry and a copper wire plant. Djelic, who is in charge of the country’s efforts to build economic and political ties in Europe, said in the e-mail that the meeting was one it would make with any investor that is interested in Serbia.
The new tender is due to begin on August 31 with a starting price of $340 million. Deripaska’s Basic Element holding also owns Aluminijumski Kombinat Podgorica, the largest aluminum producer in Serbia’s neighbor Montenegro.
Production at Bor, Former Yugoslavia’s top producer of copper and precious metals in the 1980s and early 1990s, failed to recover following international economic and trade sanctions against Serbia during the Balkan civil wars. (economy.co.yu)