(EnergyAsia, June 13 2014, Friday) — Russia’s Minister for Development of the Far East, Alexander Galushka, recently visited the facilities of mining firm Mechel in the region as part of his work tour to monitor the country’s ports and infrastructure projects serving the Pacific markets.

The company said its chairman, Igor Zyuzin, accompanied Mr Galushka, First Deputy Minister Alexander Osipov and Deputy Minister Maxim Shereikin in the tour of the Neryungrinsky open pit mine, the Elga coal deposit, and the 321-km Ulak-Elga railway. The officials also visited Mechel’s Port Posiet and Port Vanino built to ship the company’s coal products to markets in the Asia Pacific region.

Mechel said that as part of the minister’s visit, it helped organise a conference for government and business representatives to discuss the coal industry’s development in the region, issues related to infrastructure and logistics, and the creation of a municipality at the Elga deposit.

The conference also focused on the investment and financial challenges facing the development of Russia’s coal industry over the next 15 years.

“Mechel is creating a powerful high-tech industrial cluster in southern Yakutia, aimed at developing the entire region and trade ties with the Asia Pacific region,” said Mr Galushka.

Mechel’s chairman Zyuzin said the emerging industrial cluster at Elga will become a flagship for Russia’s coal industry.

“Russia’s new coal industry development program stipulates that the mining focus will shift from Kuzbass to eastern Siberia. In line with this trend, in 2008 we began our large-scale investment project of developing the Elga coking coal deposit,” he said.