Highland Looking for Production Assets

Highland Gold Mining said Thursday that it was looking to acquire production assets after raising output by 1.5 percent last year, ranking it sixth among Russia's gold miners and boosting shares by 9 percent.

Highland, part-owned by billionaire Roman Abramovich, said in a statement that it would wait until the market recovers before resuming projects to develop mines in eastern Russia that were frozen at the end of last year.

"The recent recovery of the gold price is encouraging and the board continues to keep a close eye on potential acquisitions of producing assets," chairman Duncan Baxter said.

Gold has bounced back above the $900 an ounce mark, about one-third higher than the trough hit in October. The metal struck a record $1,030.80 per ounce in March.

Russia boosted gold output by 13.3 percent last year to 184.49 tons, or 5.93 million ounces, reversing five consecutive years of decline.

Highland Gold produced 158,885 ounces of gold in 2008, or 2.7 percent of Russia's entire output.