Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 66

The output of Russia’s gold mines fell from 162 metric tons in 1991 to 123 tons in 1996. (Finansovye izvestiya, 1 April). Production lies in the hands of independent cooperatives, which are keen to open up new mines but are hampered by a shortage of funds. Another problem is that they have to sell all their gold output to the state, which is behind with its payments and now owes the producers 1.8 trillion rubles ($310 million). The sector needs 10 trillion rubles in working capital per year, which used to come from the state budget. Last year eight commercial banks were authorized to lend to gold producers and to trade in gold, but the necessary legal documentation has not yet been completed, and it is anyway doubtful whether the banks can raise such a sum. Foreign companies are being kept away from the sector by the failure of the State Duma to pass a list of approved sites under the 1995 Production Sharing Law. A working group of the Duma met on April 1 to draw up a compromise list of mineral sites to present for the Duma’s approval later this month. (Segodnya, April 2)

Children Play with Leaking Missile Fuel.