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Miner told: Lift game, or else

ARCELORMITTAL, the world's largest steel maker, could lose ownership of two West Siberian coal mines if it failed to bolster production, a Russian regional governor has warned.

Aman Tuleyev, who heads the Kemerovo region where the two coal mines are located, made the warning to ArcelorMittal CEO Lakshmi Mittal in a letter posted on the government Website.

"If you are not able to stabilize production at these facilities, then we propose that you hand them over without compensation," Tuleyev wrote in the undated letter posted on Thursday.

Messages left with ArcelorMittal officials in Luxembourg were not returned. ArcelorMittal's three Russian coal mines are located in Kemerovo, about 3,000 kilometers east of Moscow. In March, ArcelorMittal said it could temporarily shut two of the mines.

The Kemerovo region said workers at the mines were being paid in full, but that work was "chaotic and untransparent."

Coking coal is a key raw material for steel manufacturing.

Tuleyev wrote that he would seek to revoke the company's exploration license at the large Zhernovskoye deposit if ArcelorMittal did not respond.

Steel makers have been hard hit by the financial crisis.


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