Thursday, August 9, 2012
Russia to ease foreign mining of gold, PGM, diamonds
Russia's gold reserves account for about 10 percent of the global volume, second only to South Africa's, according to ministry data. Its share in palladium accounts for 24 percent of global reserves and in diamonds 35 percent.
But Russia lags behind countries such as Canada, Australia and the United States in exploration and development of minerals, Sergei Donskoi, recently named minister of natural resources, has said.
The draft bill would allow foreign-owned businesses to mine deposits of up to 250 tonnes (about 8 million troy ounces) of gold, five times the existing cap of 50 tonnes set in 2008, without facing additional regulation from the state, the documents showed. (www.mmr.gov.ru)
Current Russian legislation classifies gold reserves over 50 tonnes as well as any diamond and platinum group reserves as deposits of "federal significance", which means the state can ban a foreign-aligned investment that it deems is a "threat to the state defence and security".
Russia could lure more than triple the current level of investment in gold exploration to $1.6 billion a year by making small changes in legislation and offering better incentives.
The bill would bring Russian practice into line with that of other leading mining countries, Lou Naumovski, head of Kinross's Moscow office, told Reuters on Thursday.
"The fact that no government approval would be required should give more comfort to exploration companies to start exploring again," he said.