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    Expenditure on geological exploration to rise 11% in 2008

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    MOSCOW, December 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia plans to spend 21.9 billion rubles ($892 million) on geological exploration projects in 2008, up 11% against this year, the economics ministry said in an end-of-year report on Saturday.

    "There are plans to increase funding for mineral production by 11% next year against 2007. Investment in 2007 totaled 19.8 billion rubles ($807 million), and investment in geological exploration will amount to 21.9 billion rubles ($892 million) in 2008," the ministry said in the report.

    Funding for prospecting and exploration of ferrous metals will see the largest increases, while 10 billion rubles ($413 million), or 46% of all funds, will be invested in oil and gas exploration.

    More funds will also be channeled into uranium production as a measure to counteract a considerable deficit in natural uranium predicted in 2010-2015.

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