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Gold Licenses Revoked

Production may drastically fall in Russian region...

Russia?s Natural Resources Ministry has revoked 56 licenses of gold producing companies in the Khabarovsk Region, the region?s government said in a statement Friday.

As a result of the revocations, the region?s gold output may fall by 3.6 tonnes in 2004.

The ministry had discovered the terms of the licenses in question had been violated during inspections in the region in October-December 2003, ITAR-TASS reported Wednesday.

On January 26, a group of ministry experts headed by an unspecified deputy minister is expected to arrive in Khabarovsk to consider the revocation of the licenses.

Gold production is the region?s major industry. Companies based in the region produced a total of 22 tonnes of gold last year.