Russia is very rich in natural resources. Some estimates suggest that the total value of Russia's natural resources exceed $200 trillion.
So it's no surprise that Russia is one of the world's leading suppliers of gold.
Russia is currently the world's sixth-largest gold producing country with 11% of the world's unmined gold reserves.
But considering the country's massive land expanse that covers 11 timezones, many geologists consider Russia to be the single largest unexplored gold region in the world, with large deposits only recently being discovered.
Estimates widely vary, but geologists estimate Russia to hold between 25% and 40% of the world's unmined gold resources.
Russia's gold industry is highly fractured, with over 600 companies (half private) working in the sector.
The country has increased total gold production 38% since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. This year, Russia expects to increase gold production slightly to 6.6 million ounces. After that, experts predict the country will increase output to 7.9 million ounces by 2015.
The development of large gold projects held by companies such as Kinross Gold (NYSE: KGC) and Polyus Gold (OTCBB: OPYGY) are projected to the main contributor to the increase in Russia gold production.
Below you'll find the top five public-traded Russian gold companies by production volume:
|Rank||Company||Exchange: Symbol¹||Share Price||Market Cap||Annual Russia Gold Production²||Percent of Company Production||Percent of Russian Production|
|1||Polyus Gold||OTCBB: OPYGY||US$26.00||US$9.9|
|1.26 million ounces||100%||19%|
|2||Kinross Gold||NYSE: KGC||US$16.50||US$11.6|
|5||High River Gold Mines||TSX: HRG||C$1.00||C$800|
|¹Most accessible to North American investors|
²Figures from 2009
In my most recent report for Wealth Daily, I go into much more detail about Russia's metals and mining industry and tell you how I think the best approach to investing in the country's gold sector. You can read my report called The Definitive Guide to Russian Gold Stocks by simply clicking here.
Editor, Wealth Daily
Investment Director, Hard Money Millionaire and Underground Profits