Russian gold-miners plan to increase extraction to 210 tons by 2006, Viktor Tarakanovsky, chairman of the Council of the Russian Gold-Miners Union, said at a press conference in RIA Novosti on Thursday.
According to him, the figure will be twice as much as it was in 1998. "The rise in the production amounts will be achieved through development of new deposits, particularly Sukhoi Log, where reserves are estimated at 1.1 thousand tons and it is possible to extract up to 50 tons a year," Tarakanovsky pointed out.
He believes gold-mining prospects in Russia are bright enough. "Russia is able to extract up to 300 tons per year and even more," the head of the gold-miners' union stressed. "Over the last 2 years the production volume has risen by 50%, placing Russia 6th in the world," Tarakanovsky said.
At the same time, he spoke out against adopting an amendment to the law on precious metals and jewels, enabling private persons to mine gold and jewels. "It is impossible to extract gold manually," he said to RIA Novosti. "The reserves of stream-gold have been almost exhausted, and a pick and a spade are useless," Tarakanovsky said. In his opinion, the amendment will "legalise the sale of stolen gold".
The bill, drafted by the Ministry of Natural Resources, was adopted by the State Duma, however was not considered in the Federation Council, the official noted.