11 Nov 2010 15:37

Chukotka gold output plummets 22% in 10 mths

MOSCOW. Nov 11 (Interfax) - Gold production in Russia's remote Chukotka region fell 22% year-on-year in January-October.

The regional government said on its website that the region produced 20.37 tonnes of gold in the ten months. The Russian Gold Producers' Union has said the region produced 26.194 tonnes in the same period of last year.

The government said most of the gold was vein gold. The region produced 1.585 tonnes of placer gold in the 2010 season, which is now over.

Gold production in the region has been slowing due to a drop in output at the Kupol mine, operated by Kinross Gold. The region almost tripled gold production in January-July 2009, but output began to slow after that, falling 2.9% year-on-year in the first eight months of last year, the Gold Producers' Union has said.

The region's government said Kupol produced 16.047 tonnes of gold in the ten months, including 1.597 tonnes in October.

It said Lev Leviev's Karalveem mine in Chukotka produced 1.599 tonnes of gold in the ten months, including 133.8 kg in October, and that the Chukotka mining cooperative produced 1.388 tonnes (110 kg).

Chukotka has 14 gold mining enterprises, three of which produce hardrock gold.

Chukotka was Russia's second biggest gold producing region last year. The region only produced a small amount of gold until the Kupol mine went into production in the summer of 2008.

Kinross has said output at Kupol fell to 539,339 ounces gold equivalent in January-September 2010, from 705,895 oz in the same period of last year. Kinross said last year that it expected production at Kupol to fall due to lower ore grades. It says average grades at Kupol were 16.55 g/t for gold in Q3 2010, down from 18.55 g/t in Q2 2010, 20.2 g/t in Q1 2010 and as much as 28.2 g/t when the mine went into production in 2008.