BELGRADE June 10 (Reuters) - Serbia's troubled state-run RTB Bor copper mine and smelter and the Canadian SNC Lavalin (SNC.TO) signed a 175 million euros ($210.7 million)-worth upgrade deal, an official statement said on Thursday.
The construction of a copper smelter and a sulphuric acid factory will be funded from a 135 million euros-worth loan from the Export Development Canada, a self-financed crown corporation that helps finance Canadian exporters.
The government in Belgrade pledged the remaining 40 million euros, the Economy Ministry said a statement, citing minister Mladjan Dinkic. "We will also invest another 27 million euros in mining equipment," it quoted Dinkic as saying.
Last month Serbia's President Boris Tadic said Belgrade wanted to invest about 450 million euros in the company in the coming years.
The 10-year EDC loan will have a 3-year grace period and comes with a 2.9 percent annual interest rate. "The SNC Lavalin will complete the bulk of works, domestic companies will be included and the deadline is 36 months," Dinkic said.
In 2009, RTB Bor, Serbia's sole copper mine and smelter which in the 1990s suffered amidst international embargo, Balkan wars and mismanagement during the autocratic rule of former President SLobodan Milosevic, posted a $45 million loss.
Last year, Serbian government said it had abandoned plans to sell a majority stake in the RTB Bor amid the economic crisis and after potential bidders, Austria's A-Tec and Romania's Cuprom, failed to meet terms of tender offers.