Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Digging for Riches: Inside Russia's Biggest Gold Supplier

Russia’s Polyus Gold International is the country’s largest producer and one of the top 10 gold miners globally. With bullion remaining a large part of many central banks’ reserves decades after they stopped using it to back paper money, Russia’s reserves have reached a record high of 1,353 metric tons, up 250% since 2005. Safe-haven purchases may continue, as Russia supports domestic gold producers and contends with weak oil prices, ruble depreciation and inflation. Polyus was formed in the 2005 spinoff of Norilsk Nickel's gold assets. Here we look at the company’s projects in Bodaybo, Russia. Photographs by Andrey Rudakov for Bloomberg

  1. Molten Riches

    Molten Riches

    Nations globally have expanded gold holdings over the past few years in a reversal from two decades of selling since the late 1980s.

  2. Nuggets Galore

    Nuggets Galore

    Polyus has several projects which they believe may increase its gold output by 30% in 2020, or as much as 500,000 ounces, from 2014 levels.

  3. Hot Metal

    Hot Metal

    Russian gold reserves reached a record high of 1,353 metric tons at the end of last month, up 250% since September 2005. The central bank bought about 34 metric tons of gold in September.

  4. Bubble Bar

    Bubble Bar

    Russia has been accelerating gold purchases recently, and in September they added the most metal to its reserves in a year.

  5. At the Controls

    At the Controls

    The nation increased holdings to 43.5 million ounces from 42.4 million ounces in August.

  6. Keep on Trucking

    Keep on Trucking

    Russia, the sixth-biggest holder of gold, more than tripled its hoard since 2005 and holds the most gold since at least 1993. I

  7. Placer Mining

    Placer Mining

    Russia has been steadily buying bullion even as international sanctions over the Ukrainian conflict and a plunge in oil prices contributed to a collapse in the ruble.

  8. In Ore

    In Ore

    The price of gold has tumbled almost 40 percent since its peak in 2011, squeezing producers from Peru to Australia that have relied on old mines with declining ore grades for profits.

  9. Panning


    With gold becoming more difficult to find and expensive to mine, companies must adapt by embracing three-dimensional modeling, better data analysis and more sophisticated machinery.

  10. Finished Product

    Finished Product

    Gold accounts for about 13 percent of Russia’s total foreign reserves, according to the London-based World Gold Council.