Russia BasEl's wins tender to build Yakutia railroad

MOSCOW Thu Nov 6, 2008 12:32pm EST

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MOSCOW Nov 6 (Reuters) - Russia's Basic Element (BasEl), the conglomerate of billionaire Oleg Deripaska, has won a tender to build a 34.5 billion rouble ($1.28 billion) railroad in the far eastern republic of Yakutia, the company said on Thursday.

When completed in 2013, the 400-kilometre state-funded line will allow access to natural resources in the region such as coal, diamonds and natural gas.

Of the dozens of projects in Russia's $1 trillion plan to develop its infrastructure over the next 10 years, this has been among the first to go forward since the onset of the global financial crisis.

Last month, a consortium led by French construction company Vinci (SGEF.PA) won a tender to build the first leg of a motorway from Moscow to St. Petersburg, signalling that Russia is still committed to renewing its infrastructure despite the financial turmoil.

State monopoly Russian Railways will provide 4 billion roubles of funding for the link from the towns of Tommot to Yakutsk, while the rest will come from federal and regional budgets, said Irina Kotenko, spokeswoman for the Basic Element unit handling the construction.

Russia has earmarked a total of 350 billion roubles for the development of Yakutia, a resource rich but largely barren region roughly five times the size of France.

"This road is vitally important for the economy of the republic, for its industries and its citizens," the republic's president, Vyacheslav Styrov, said in a statement. (Reporting by Simon Shuster; Editing by David Cowell)

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