Polyus reiterates delay in production target to 2015

OAO Polyus Gold, Russia`s biggest producer of the metal, reiterated that it expects a three-year delay in meeting its target to triple annual output, with the 4 Moz figure more realistic by 2015, chief executive officer Pavel Skitovich said Monday.

The goal set in December by former CEO Yevgeny Ivanov, who said Polyus would produce almost 4 million ounces of gold per year by 2012, is more feasible by 2015, Skitovich said in Severo-Yeniseisk, without giving details.

Skitovich said the company would “concentrate on cost-control and separating production and development” and on spending more to boost reserves with new discoveries. The three-year delay readjusts the company's targets to a $3.4 billion development strategy Polyus, which produced 1.2 million ounces of gold last year, to increase reserves to in excess of 68 million ounces by 2015.

Ivanov stepped down as CEO at the end of May to head Polyus Exploration, a separate unit set up by the mining company to focus on greenfield projects. The division will “help raise the investment appeal” of Polyus`s geological exploration projects, Ivanov said April 2.

The gold miner, controlled by billionaires Mikhail Prokhorov and Vladimir Potanin, is banking on discoveries such as the Chertovoye Korytse -- or Devil`s Trough -- deposit in the Irkutsk region and the Titimukhta mine in the Krasnoyarsk region to help bring its reserves to the world`s third-largest, after Barrick Gold Corp and Newmont Mining.

Source: The Moscow Times, Tuesday, July 17 - 2007