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Russia: Diamond Mine Receives U.S. Bank Loan Guarantee

Washington, 18 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The U.S. Export-Import (Ex-Im) Bank today signed an agreement to provide a $62.3 million loan guarantee to underwrite the sale of American diamond mining equipment to a Russian company.

The equipment will be used to modernize and increase production at Almazy Rossii-Sakha (ARS) mining complex in Russia's Eastern Siberian region.

Ex-Im Bank President Martin Kamarck, at a signing ceremony in Washington, said it was the export finance agency's first transaction supporting Russian diamond mining and represents "enormous opportunities" for both countries. Russia produces at least 20 percent of the world's diamonds and the ARS mines are the largest producer of diamonds in Russia.

The guarantee is the first approved under a project incentive agreement signed in 1993 by the Russian Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank. The agreement directs that repayment of the loan must be secured from revenues generated by a long-term arrangement under which the New York-based diamond trading and polishing company, Lazare Kaplan, participates in the cutting, polishing and marketing of ARS diamonds worldwide.

The agreement was signed by the president of Almazy Rossi-Sakha, Vyacheslav Shtyrov.