Russian coal miner Belon Group (BELO.MM) said on Thursday it repaid 4.8 billion roubles ($144.5 million) of debt in the fourth quarter of 2008, largely by refinancing 3.8 billion roubles of its borrowings.

Belon, part-owned by steel maker Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works (MAGN.MM), said in a statement state-controlled bank VTB (VTBR.MM0 refinanced 1.8 billion roubles of the debt.

The company said its total debt fell by 800 million roubles in the fourth quarter due to currency movements. Belon mines coking coal for the steel industry and thermal coal for the power sector. (Reporting by Robin Paxton; Editing by David Cowell)

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