Russia boosted gold output by 13.3 percent last year to 184.49 tonnes (5.93 million ounces), reversing five consecutive years of decline, data from the Russian Gold Industrialists’ Union shows.
Valery Braiko, the union’s head, forecast output from Russia’s mines would remain steady this year, with the possible addition of 1 to 2 tonnes.
Russia’s gold reserves are second only to South Africa’s, but the country traditionally ranks fifth or sixth in the world in terms of actual production.
Several leading Russian miners increased output last year and a series of ambitious expansion plans in Siberia and the Far East envisages production rising by another 20 percent by 2015.
The country’s biggest gold miner, Polyus Gold (PLZL.MM), accounted for about one-fifth of Russia’s production last year and ranks fourth in the world in terms of reserves.
Following is a list of planned expansions by the country’s largest gold producers:
POLYUS GOLD (PLZL.MM (PLZLq.L)
Market capitalisation as of Feb. 1: $5.5 billion
Main owners: Mikhail Prokhorov and Vladimir Potanin, each of whom own around 30 percent
2008 output: 1.222 million ounces (20.6 percent of Russia’s total)
2007 output: 1.214 million ounces
Long-term forecast: 3.9 million ounces annually by 2015
Operating mines: Olympiada (Krasnoyarsk region), Kuranakh (Yakutia), Zapadnoye (Irkutsk), alluvial deposits in Irkutsk region
Development projects include: Blagodatnoye, Titimukhta, Olenii, Tyrada (Krasnoyarsk), Chertovo Koryto (Irkutsk), Natalka (Magadan), Nezhdaninskoye (Yakutia)
PETER HAMBRO MINING (POG.L)
Market capitalisation as of Feb. 1: $659 million
2008 output: 393,600 ounces (6.6 percent of Russia’s total)
2007 output: 289,700 ounces
Forecast 2009 output: 460,000-510,000 ounces, with long-term forecast to reach more than 1 million ounces
Operating mines: Pokrovsky, Pioneer (Amur), Omchak (joint venture in Magadan), several alluvial deposits
Development projects include: Malomir (Amur), Novogodnee Monto, Toupugol-Khanmeishorsky (Yamal-Nenets)
POLYMETAL (PMTLq.L: Quote) (PMTL.MM)
Market capitalisation as of Feb. 1: $1.4 billion
Main owners: Businessmen Alexander Nesis, Alexander Mamut and Czech financial group PPF.
2008 output: 285,000 ounces (4.8 percent of Russia’s total)
2007 output: 242,000 ounces
Forecast 2009 output: 280,000-300,000 ounces
Long-term forecast: 400,000 ounces by 2010
Operating mines: Dukat, Lunnoye (Magadan), Vorontsovskoye (Sverdlovsk), Khakanja (Khabarovsk)
Development projects include: Albazino, Khakarinskaya (Khabarovsk), Dukat Ore Field, Kubaka (Magadan), strategic alliance with AngloGold Ashanti Ltd (ANGJ.J: Quote) (various regions), Rudnichny, Galkinsky (Sverdlovsk), Anenskoye (Krasnoyarsk)
Polymetal is also Russia’s largest silver miner
Unlisted. The name translates as South Urals Gold.
2008 output: 169,200 ounces (2.9 percent of Russia’s total)
2007 output: 158,900 ounces
Operating mines: Svetlinskoye, Bereznyakovskoye, Kochkarskoye, West Kurasan, South Kurasan (all Chelyabinsk), Priisk Drazhny (Krasnoyarsk), Kommunarovsky (Khakassia), Darasun (Zabaikalsky)
HIGHLAND GOLD MINING LTD (HGM.L)
Market capitalisation as of Feb. 1: $243 million
Shareholders include: Millhouse LLC (the investment vehicle of Roman Abramovich) and associated persons, Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO: Quote), billionaires Alexander Abramov and Alexander Frolov.
2008 output: not yet released
2007 output: 156,490 ounces (3.0 percent of Russia’s total)
Long-term forecast: more than 200,000 ounces by 2009
Operating mine: Mnogovershinnoye (Khabarovsk)
Development projects include: Mayskoye (Chukotka), Taseyevskoye, Novoshirokinskoye* (Zabaikalsky)
Novoshirokinskoye is a polymetallic deposit being developed jointly with Kazzinc, a Kazakhstan-based zinc producer owned by Switzerland-based trader Glencore
KINROSS GOLD CORP (K.TO)
Market capitalisation as of Feb. 1: $11.8 billion
2008 output (including non-Russian assets): 1.8-1.9 million gold equivalent ounces. In the first nine months of 2008, the company produced 299,076 gold equivalent ounces in Russia.
Forecast 2009 output (including non-Russian assets): up to 2.5 million gold equivalent ounces. Forecast for Russia is 675,000-725,000 gold equivalent ounces.
Operating mine: Kupol (Chukotka), Julietta (Magadan).
Development projects: Kinross will also undertake a feasibility study of the Nezhdaninskoye deposit with Polyus Gold. A decision on a possible joint venture to develop the project will be made after the study is complete.
SEVERSTAL (CHMF.MM) (CHMFq.L)
Market capitalisation as of Feb. 1: $2.54 billion
Main owner: Alexei Mordashov
2008 output: not yet released
2007 output: 170,395 ounces
Severstal, primarily a steel company, has moved into the gold sector by acquiring Kazakhstan-focused miner Celtic Resources, a controlling stake in Canada’s High River Gold Mines Ltd (HRG.TO: Quote) and several mining licences throughout Siberia.
2008 output: 132,000 ounces (2.2 percent of Russia’s total)
2007 output: 102,900 ounces
Forecast 2009 output: 140,000 ounces, with plans to increase this to 540,000 ounces by 2016
Operating mines: Golets Vysochaishy (Irkutsk), Aldgold (Yakutia)
2008 output: 44,200 ounces (0.7 percent of Russia’s total)
2007 output: 64,943 ounces
Forecast 2009 output: 68,300 ounces, with plans to increase this to 385,000 ounces by 2014
Operating mines: Aginsky (Kamchatka) Source: company documents, Reuters data. (Compiled by Robin Paxton and Polina Devitt, editing by Anthony Barker)
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