Beginning this month, the facility now operates at an annual capacity of 2.7 million metric tons (mt) run of mine, or 2.3 million mt clean.

Mechel officials said this amount will more than double, reaching 3-3.5 million mt ROM coal, though it did not indicate a timeframe for that ramp-up.

In the nearest future, it noted, most of the Elga coal products will be exported to the Asia-Pacific region.

“This transfer of the washing plant into an all-year work mode demonstrates that with the growing output at the Elga pit, Mechel is committed to its plans regarding the Elga project’s development and on track with the construction of the future mining and processing plant,” the company said.

By the end of 2014, about 1.3 million mt of coal will be mined from the Elga deposit.

Next year, according to Mechel Mining Management Chief Executive Officer Pavel Shtark, its investment in the facility will increase even more.

“Accordingly, the group’s experts at this plant are mastering and perfecting our washing technologies, which will then be used by all three washing plants of the future mining complex. We will start constructing the first such plant, with a capacity of 9 million mt of run-of-mine coal, in early 2015, with groundwork on the construction site already complete,” he said.