With its vast and varied geography, Russia possesses more mineral resources than any other country in the world. The sector is considered to be a strategic part of the economy, and many of Russia’s largest companies are mining concerns, including Rusal, Norilsk Nickel, and ALROSA. Russia is the world’s top producer of palladium and nickel, and ranks second in aluminum. It is also a world leader in coal, gold, copper, iron ore, diamonds, lead, potash, cobalt, zinc, uranium, and various rare earth metals. Most the country’s mines are located in Asiatic Russia, particularly in eastern Siberia and the Russian Far East, though the North Caucasus region yields various minerals. Kaliningrad commands the vast majority of the world’s amber deposits. Historically, foreign investment in the mining sector has remained underdeveloped due to concerns about high taxes and the unreliability of the judicial system. Nonetheless, expenditures and inward foreign investment rose dramatically under Vladimir Putin. However, the Kremlin’s decision to nationalize gold mining in 2008 underscored preexisting concerns about foreign investment. Increasingly, Russian companies and the state have shown interest in outward investment. Most dramatically, Gazprom announced a $4 billion deal with Venezuela in 2009.
   See also Natural gas; Oil.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.


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