Read a special report on Norilsk Nickel at The Economist. The company has invited BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest mining company, to explore the largest untapped nickel deposit in Russia, after winning the rights for it at an auction.Microsoft and Intel have formed a noncommercial partnership to create an industry alliance to help develop the country’s IT sector. Evraz Group, the steelmaker part owned by billionaire Roman Abramovich, agreed to buy North American assets from Svenskt Staal worth $4.03 billion. Foreign firms seeking to make money in Russia under the Kyoto Protocol “will not have an easy time” getting approval from the Russian state. “The most correct approach is forbidding everything, but allowing certain things to go forward. The worst approach is to approve everything, but say certain things are forbidden.” Russian diamond miner Alrosa plans to increase its investments in Angola. The IT and Communications Ministry estimates that investments in Russia’s IT industry are expected to surge sevenfold from $80m in 2007 to $500m-$600m in 2010. Foreign banks remain eager to enter Russia, undeterred by turbulence on global financial markets, according to the Central Bank.