While Moscow's selling of US Treasurys over the past 6 years is hardly a surprise to anyone...
... Putin's far more aggressive purchases of gold in recent years, with Russian reserves now in their 39th consecutive month of additions, have certainly raised a few eyebrows: almost as if Russia is doing everything it can to prepare for the moment when the US dollar is no longer a reserve currency.
What is perhaps even more surprising is that the pace of gold accumulation by the state is no longer satisfactory, and according to RT, major Russian gold mining companies are planning to double production; such an increase would make Russia the world's second largest producer of the precious metal.
While Russia is currently the world's third biggest gold miner after Australia and China, that could change in less than a decade, according to Mikhail Leskov, deputy CEO at the Moscow-based Institute of Geotechnology, as quoted by Vedomosti.
The boosting of mining output would also make Russia a gold export powerhouse. In 2017, Russia extracted 8.8 million ounces, accounting for 8.3% of total global production, according consultancy Metals Focus. The newly discovered gold deposits will reportedly allow miners to increase extraction by half in seven years, and by 2030, extraction is expected to grow by nearly eight million ounces.
Earlier this year, state exploration company Rosgeo said that a new discovery, holding some 900 tons of silver and gold, was found in the Republic of Bashkortostan. According to initial estimates, there are some 87 tons-worth of gold in the area. Silver deposits, meanwhile, are estimated at 787 tons.
The Russian gold mining industry has almost doubled its volume of extraction over the last two decades. Over the past decade, the country’s producers mined 2,189 tons of gold according to the Russian Union of Gold Producers.
There’s a number of major gold mining regions in Russia, including the most prospective in the world. Krasnoyarsk region in central Russia has two of major operations – Olimpiada and Blagodatnoye. Chukotka region in Russia’s Far East is home to one of the biggest Russian miners, the Dvoinoye and the Kupol operations. The regions of Amur and Magadan are Russia's fastest growing gold hubs while the Siberian city of Irkutsk is also one of the most prominent mining areas in the country.
In March, the region of Yakutsk made the front pages when a Russian AN-12 cargo plane lost over 3 tons of gold on takeoff.