Russian-Kazakh joint venture Kamaz Engineering plans to invest $US25m in the expansion of Russia's Kamaz vehicle production in Kazakhstan in 2006, Khafiz Salikhov, the trade and foreign economic cooperation minister of Russia's constituent republic of Tatarstan, told Prime-Tass news agency.

Kamaz Engineering is a joint venture between Russia's largest heavy truck manufacturer Kamaz, based in Tatarstan, and Kazakh national company Kazakhstan Engineering.

The funds will be invested into the production of tractors and Kamaz auto components in Kazakhstan, Salikhov said.

In 2005 Kamaz Engineering invested the equivalent of $7.9m in the production of Kamaz vehicles, Salikhov said.

In August 2005 Kamaz Engineering assembled a trial model of the Kamaz-55111 dump truck. Last year the joint venture also started producing passenger buses under a license from the Neftekamsk auto plant, which, as well as Kamaz truck maker, is part of Kamaz Group, Salikhov said.

The planned capacity of the joint venture, which was established in May 2005, is 2,350 vehicles per year, including 200 buses, 1,500 dump trucks and 650 dump trailers, Salikhov said.

The Development Bank of Kazakhstan is prepared to finance joint projects between Kazakhstan and Tatarstan, including Kamaz' projects, Salikhov said.