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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hambro Says Its Problems Are Solved

Peter Hambro, CEO of London-listed Peter Hambro Mining, said Wednesday that the company's difficulties with the Natural Resources Ministry's environmental agency were now behind it and that the current investment climate in Russia was the most favorable that it had ever been.

"When you remove uncertainty, the investment climate prospects [improve]," Hambro said on the sidelines of a mining seminar, alluding to President Vladimir Putin's comments that he may become prime minister next year.

Peter Hambro Mining is looking to invest a further $300 million to $400 million in the country, Hambro said.

In November, Oleg Mitvol, deputy head of the ministry's environmental watchdog, threatened to take away five of Peter Hambro's licenses, claiming that the company had committed significant violations. The gold miner lost almost one-third of its listed value in the weeks following the claim. The company later resolved its issues with Mitvol. Its shares were trading at 1209 pence as of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, up 15 percent on their price before Mitvol's Nov. 29 comments.

"We went through differences of opinion with [the agency] and finally arrived at a mutual understanding," Hambro said. "The fact that we could arrive at this mutual comprehension shows that it is possible to operate in an efficient way."

Others at the conference were less confident. Marc Polonsky, a partner at law firm White & Case, said mining investors were still hampered by a lack of clear legislation and a growing antipathy toward foreigners in strategic sectors.

"Success depends on good relations with government organs," Polonsky said in response to a question from Hambro. "A more positive investment climate would reduce the importance of those relations."