Mining to Russia

Trends and opportunities

The market

Russia remains one of the largest producers of mining commodities in the world. The country has a huge geographic area rich with mineral resources. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), Russia was ranked among the world leading producers of commodities including bauxite, coal, copper, diamond, gold, iron ore, lead, nickel, PGM, potash, silver, uranium and others.

Russia is the largest miner of diamonds and palladium and the second largest miner of platinum and nickel. Fitch Solutions forecasts that Russia will remain one of the world’s largest producers of base and industrial metals (Source: Russia Mining Report 2019).

With 157 bln tonnes of coal deposits, Russia holds the second-largest recoverable coal reserves in the world. The Russian state will spend an estimated US$123 bln (around A$ 181.2 bln) to develop the coal industry up to 2030 (Fitch Solutions, Russia Mining Report 4Q2019).

Russian mining companies are on the edge of developing new excellent deposits. In 2017 Polyus Gold acquired a license for Sukhoi Log deposit development with an estimated reserve of 63 million ounces of gold, where additional exploration works are under way at present. Baikal Mining Company, Metalloinvest subsidiary, is proceeding with the design documentation development phase of Udokan project with JORK-compliant reserves of 26.7 million tonnes of copper.

The mining industry plays an important role in Russia’s national economy. In 2018, the Russian mining industry grew by 3.48% and contributed 11.54% to nation GDP (www.finam.ru). The sector is highly consolidated. The Strategic Investments Law, which regulates access of foreign investors to the mining industry, gives privileges to Russian companies that play key roles in the sector and restricts foreign firms from developing large, or ‘strategic’ deposits. At the same time, the gold mining industry has integrated more in the global economy and attracts both Russian and international miners. A number of smaller international companies are also producing nickel, silver and coal in Russia.

Approximately 20,000 deposits have been discovered in Russia and over one-third of these deposits are in the development or production stages. The eastern part of Russia (Siberia and the Russian Far East) house the bulk of Russia’s mineral deposits. Many of the resources are still untapped and require modern technologies and investment for exploration and development. The presence of Russian mining companies in this area is strong despite the harsh climatic conditions. Some projects are being developed with participation by international mining companies. These include Kinross gold mining projects in Chukotka and Yakutia, Highland Gold projects in Khabarovsk region and London-listed Petropavlovsk has gold and iron ore projects in Amur region.

Opportunities

According to the Engineering and Mining Journal, Russia presents one of the greatest remaining opportunities in the mining industry worldwide. With generally a favorable forecast for mining sector development, Russian mining companies are focused on optimising the existing operations, increasing efficiency while preparing for future growth. The mining sector looks for cooperation with international companies to access to new products and technologies to improve productivity, increase safety and reduce their environmental impact, providing opportunities for Australian companies. Russia imports between $2.8-$3 bln worth of mineral extraction and mining equipment per annum.

Opportunities include:

  • mapping, airborne surveying, prospecting, exploration drilling services
  • EPC/EPCM contractors for the mining projects of one - five million tons of ore per year
  • mining optimisation consulting services
  • mining training services
  • mining and processing equipment and technologies
  • maintenance and repair services for mining equipment
  • IT, geological data analysis and data modelling
  • engineering, project management, risk analysis and other consulting services
  • mine safety, audit and environmental services
  • ore processing and screening
  • geotechnical and construction services.

Russian Mining Customer Profile

Competitive environment

Australian mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies have a good reputation within the Russian mining community. Australian products are considered to be of high quality and the best international standards. A number of Australian METS companies have established offices or appointed distributors in Russia.

The high cost of commercial credits in the market and limited access to international banking by Russian mining companies make finance options and cost-competitiveness crucial for competing effectively in Russia.

Many international suppliers to the mining industry are active within the country. Traditionally, most equipment and services are bought from the European Union, United States and Canada. As Chinese investments to the industry grows, so too does the share of Chinese suppliers to the mining sector.

Tariffs, regulations and customs

In recent years, there has been substantial progress in the adoption of common international rules to product standards and certification procedures. However, Russia still has a complicated system of certification and all products imported into the country must meet Russian standards. Australian exporters are recommended to work with reliable partners and consulting companies on registration and certification issues.

On 1 January 2015, Russia along with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan established the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) introducing a common economic space containing more than 180 million people. The EEU has removed trade and economic barriers and formalised the free movement of goods, capital, services and people, including the unified customs rules and common certificates/declarations of conformity for all EEU members.

Sanction

The resources/METS sector is not directly impacted by sanctions. Detailed information on Australian sanctions imposed against Russia is available on DFAT website.

Industry standards

Mining products are subject to the following CU technical regulations:

  • CU TR 010/2011 - Safety of machinery
  • CU TR 012/2011 - Safety of equipment in explosion hazardous environments
  • CU TR 019/2011 - Safety of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Marketing your products and services

Market entry

Russian territory is vast and divided by eleven time zones which can make some international companies prefer to enter the market on a regional basis. It is common for new companies entering the Russian landscape to first establish a presence in Moscow and St. Petersburg before moving into other regions where the targeted industry is the most developed. These are Kuzbas basin and East Siberia for coal industry, Sakhalin for oil and gas, Far East and Siberia for mining.

One of the major competitive advantage for Australian suppliers to mining companies can be the ability to provide after-sales service, training, and customer support. It is particularly important in remote areas where mining clients operate.

Distribution channels

The most common entry strategy for Australian METS companies in Russia is to appoint an agent or select a well-established local distributor. Usually a company needs a number of distributors to effectively service the clients in different regions. Typically, distributors supply products to the clients and provide logistical support, warehousing, product certification and customs clearance.

Under Russian regulations, representative offices of international companies cannot be involved in commercial activities. The advantage of establishing representative office in the country is to strengthen control over distributors and product promotion.

Registration of a wholly owned subsidiary in Russia is possible. The federal and local government provide support to international companies establishing manufacturing facilities in Russia, particularly in fast track development areas in the Russian Far East and other special economic zones.

Links and industry contacts

Government, business and trade resources for Russia

Contact details

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission – Austrade – contributes to Australia's economic prosperity by helping Australian businesses, education institutions, tourism operators, governments and citizens as they:

  • develop international markets
  • win productive foreign direct investment
  • promote international education
  • strengthen Australia's tourism industry
  • seek consular and passport services.

Working in partnership with Australian state and territory governments, Austrade provides information and advice that can help Australian companies reduce the time, cost and risk of exporting. We also administer the Export Market Development Grant Scheme and offer a range of services to Australian exporters in growth and emerging markets.