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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Polyus Gold Output Drops 6%

Polyus Gold, the country's top producer of the metal, said Tuesday that its output fell by 6 percent in the first half of this year to 470,000 ounces from 502,000 ounces one year earlier.

"The year-on-year decrease is due to pre-scheduled reduction in gold production at Olimpiada mine in the Krasnoyarsk region relating to the preparation for a new mill launch there," Polyus said in a statement.

The decline also resulted from the fact that around 16,000 ounces of gold produced by Olimpiada, the country's largest gold mine located in Siberia, were not refined by the end of the first half of this year.

Polyus opened a third mill at Olimpiada earlier this month, which will increase annual ore processing capacity to 9.5 million tons and preserve gold output there at about 804,000 ounces for the next 15 years.

Polyus, which produces around one-quarter of the country's gold, has said it intends to keep this year's output at the 2006 level of 1.2 million ounces, but that it plans to more than triple output to 3.9 million ounces by 2015.

Polyus's sold all 470,000 ounces of gold it produced in the first six months of this year. One year ago its sales were 504,000 ounces. But the average gold sales price rose to $659.7 per ounce in the first half of 2007 from $593.7 one year ago.

Polyus' mining units extracted 5.7 million tons of ore, compared with 6.5 million in January to June 2006.

But ore processing rose to 4.6 million tons compared with 4.1 one year ago, it said.

Polyus is controlled by billionaires Vladimir Potanin and Mikhail Prokhorov.