Russian gold production will increase by up to 60 percent to reach 250 tons per year in the next decade, Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev said on Tuesday.
"Some 50 gold deposits and complex mineral deposits will go on stream by then, enabling us to raise mine production to 250 tons annually," the Interfax news agency here quoted Trutnev as saying at a gold industry conference held in the northern city of Magadan.
Russia is turning out about 168 tons of gold annually as the world's fifth biggest gold producer and has the world's second biggest proven gold reserves, Trutnev said.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who made a stop in Magadan en route to Moscow from Japan where he paid a visit to boost business ties, urged the country's potential for gold output to be fully tapped.
"All the experts say there's a wide gap between the amounts of gold we can produce and the amounts we produce in reality," the Itar-Tass news agency quoted Putin as saying at the conference.
"This country really has unique resources of gold, and our geological surveyors got data on new impressive deposits of gold in recent years," he said.
"The external market situation and the encouraging tendencies inside the industry itself are very lucrative for commercial development of those deposits," said Putin.
Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, also speaking at the conference, said Russia was exporting 133 tons, which account for more than 75 percent of the gold it produces, every year and the investment climate was enabling entrepreneurs to increase investment in gold mining.