UPDATE 1-Russia expands its largest coal port, sends cargo to India

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VLADIVOSTOK, Russia, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Russia has launched the third export line at its largest coal terminal in the Far East region, loading the first cargo for Indian company JSW Steel, Vostochny Port said on Thursday.

Russia and India are forging closer ties amid chilling relations between Moscow and the West over the Ukrainian crisis, Moscow’s alleged meddling in the elections in the United States and other issues.

The two nations are targeting $30 billion of annual trade by 2025. Indian investors are interested in investing in Russia’s coal industry, the head of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund said on Wednesday.

Indian coal producer Coal India signed a deal to mine coking coal in Russia’s Far East, while private company H-Energy is looking at buying liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Novatek on a long-term basis, companies said this week. Vostochny Port on the Russian Pacific coast said in its statement that launching the third line at the coal terminal doubled the port’s loading capacity to 50 million to 55 million tonnes per year.

Vostochny Port is part of the private coal producer Kuzbassrazrezugol, co-owned by businessmen Iskander Makhmudov and Andrei Bokarev.

$1 = 65.9950 roubles Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin Editing by Katya Golubkova and Edmund Blair