UPDATE 1-Russia Severstal pays $19.5 mln for Tuva coal licence

* Tsentralnyi field has 639 mln T of hard coking coal

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MOSCOW, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Severstal CHMF.MM, Russia's largest steel producer, said on Tuesday it will pay $19.5 million for the licence to the Tsentralnyi field in Siberia's Tuva, as it expands its coking coal mining assets.

The field, in Tuva’s Ulug-Khemskiy basin, holds 639 million tonnes of high-quality hard coking coal.

“This license is an important strategic development for Severstal Resources, significantly adding to our reserves and our ability to access new markets,” Severstal Resources chief executive Vadim Larin said in a statement.

Russian steel producers, which already possess a high degree of vertical integration, are expanding their resource base as raw material prices rise. [ID:nLDE66P01B]

Severstal already operates coal mines in Russia and the U.S.

Reporting by Alfred Kueppers