Russian mining and metals producer Mechel OAO and Belarusian truck builder BelAZ OAO in June announced an agreement to create a joint Russo-Belarusian venture called ElgaBelAvto OAO for maintenance and repair of BelAZ mine trucks in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).

The enterprise’s main facilities will be located in Yakutugol Holding Co.’s production area, with a secondary facility at the Elga open-pit coal mine. ElgaBelAvto will be set up to meet the maintenance needs of Yakutugol Holding Co.’s two largest surface coal operations—Neryungrinsky and Elga—which operate more than 140 mine trucks.

The project is estimated to require about $9.5 million in investment by 2018, and will create more than 300 new jobs. According to the agreement, ElgaBelAvto will begin operation in late 2013 or early 2014. In the future, the joint venture may offer its services to other BelAZ customers in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and neighboring regions.

“BelAZ is our reliable and longstanding partner, and today Belarusian-made mining trucks work at all of Mechel’s mining facilities. Creating a joint service center will enable Yakutugol Holding to cut equipment maintenance costs and set up the technical base for a large-scale increase of production at Yakutugol and the Elga coal deposit,” said Mechel OAO’s Vice President for Commercial Activities Mikhail Urvantsev.