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Polyus approves $150 mln exploration program for this year

OAO Polyus approved in excess of $150 mln of exploration investment for this year as the producer of more than a fifth of Russia's gold seeks to boost reserves.

The company, owned by billionaires Mikhail Prokhorov and Vladimir Potanin, expects reserves to grow to 3,707 tons of gold, or 130.8 million ounces, by 2011, the company said today in an e-mailed statement. OAO Polyus is banking on new discoveries, the Chertovo Koryto deposit in the Irkutsk region and the Titimukhta mine in Krasnoyarsk region, to boost reserves that are the biggest in Russia and potentially the third-largest globally. The company will submit data on the new discoveries for assessment by the state reserves committee later this year. Polyus will also prepare a so-called pre-feasibility study for the Natalka deposit, which vies as the world's third-biggest based on Russian geological data, Polyus said. (Bloomberg)