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EU gives go-ahead to Norilsk Nickel's deal with OM Group

MOSCOW, February 8 (RIA Novosti) - Norilsk Nickel [RTS: GMKN] has received approval from the European Union's executive body for the purchase of nickel assets in Finland from U.S.-based OM Group Inc., the Russian company said Thursday.

The European Commission's approval "paves the way to closing the deal, set tentatively for March 1, 2007," Norilsk Nickel, the world's largest producer of nickel and palladium, said in a news release.

The Russian metals giant is set to buy a refining plant at Harjavalta, and up to 11.1% in the Talvivaaran Kaivososakeyhtio bioleaching project.

The $408 million deal, which involves OMG assets in Australia as well as in Europe, has also been given the go-ahead by the Australian government, Norilsk Nickel said.

The Russian company seeks to acquire the Cawse nickel mine and a 20% stake in MPI Nickel Pty. Ltd., which develops the Black Swan and Silver Swan mines, and the Honeymoon Well project.

Norilsk Nickel said the deal will enable it to move forward in expanding its overseas operations and consolidating its positions on the global market.

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