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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Far East Region Sees Decree On Exporting Gold Soon

MAGADAN, Far East -- Russia's far eastern region of Magadan expects to be the first gold producing region in the country to be permitted direct exports of the metal, deputy regional governor Vyacheslav Kobets said Monday.

"We expect that the relevant decree will be signed [by President Boris Yeltsin] soon, maybe even next week," Kobets told journalists at the official opening of Kolyma gold refinery, 76 kilometers west of Magadan.

He said that a presidential decree signed last July that allowed commercial banks to export gold directly, also had a clause which gave the same permission to producers.

He said he expected exports to be made either directly by the Kolyma gold refinery, or through the precious metals fund of Magadan region, created in 1997 for the purpose.

The regional administration has a controlling stake in the refinery. Other shareholders are Rossiisky Kredit bank and the Kolyma Gold and Silver Co.

Andrei Kulikov, vice president of Rossiisky Kredit, said the bank had invested about $7 million to build the refinery.

At present, the refinery can produce up to 30 metric tons of gold per year, with a purity of 99.99 percent.

But after upgrading at the refinery, its capacity will increase to 40 to 50 metric tons of gold per year as well as 400 to 500 metric tons of silver, Kobets said.

The refinery uses progressive new technology supplied by the U.S. firm Intertech Corp.

Magadan region is expected to increase its gold output to 30 metric tons in 1998 from 27 metric tons last year, Kobets said.

Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, visiting the Russian far east, said Magadan accounted for a quarter of Russia's total gold production.

Kobets said talks were in progress with the neighboring regions of Kamchatka, Amur and Chukotka for local producers to refine gold at Kolyma.