04:29 GMT +322 February 2018
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    Russian diamond giant to sell gold ore assets in Siberia

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    MOSCOW, August 18 (RIA Novosti) - Polyus, a subsidiary of the world's largest non-ferrous metal producer, Norilsk Nickel, has begun a deal to purchase gold ore assets in Eastern Siberia from Russian diamond giant Alrosa, a leading business daily reported Thursday.

    Kommersant wrote that the deal was worth around $285 million.

    Norilsk Nickel Deputy Director Denis Morozov said $115 million had already been pre-paid, and in September Polyus would become the owner of companies with licenses for developing gold ore deposits with total reserves estimated at more than 700 metric tons of gold.

    A source close to the deal said that Polyus was buying three gold ore deposits managed by an Alrosa subsidiary in the Siberian republic of Sakha-Yakutia. The Norilsk subsidiary would buy 99% of producer Aldanzoloto and 96% of the Yakutia Mining Company, both of which hold licenses for the Nizhdaninsk, Kuranakh and Kyuchyus deposits.

    Up to this point, industry watchers had considered Canada's Barrick Gold Corporation to be the main contender for these oil ore deposits.

    The situation is made more complicated since the Kuranakh assets are currently disputed. A Moscow investment group, Russkie Fondy, which owns a 15% stake in Aldanzoloto, is already in the second year of a court battle to acquire all 10 gold licenses owned by the company.

    According to the paper, Russkie Fondy is preparing several new law suits for the Yakutia courts, and intends to force a change in the Aldanzoloto management at an emergency shareholders' meeting on August 26.

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