Russia considers export ban on precious metals scrap

Russia's trade and industry ministry is considering a temporary ban on the export of precious metals scrap and tailings, the ministry said, to promote domestic refining of the materials.

The proposed ban would last from May 1 to Oct. 31 this year, the Kommersant newspaper reported earlier, citing ministry documents.

Russian precious metal refining facilities – the main consumers of raw materials containing scrap – were running at only 30 percent capacity in 2018, Kommersant cited the ministry's proposal as saying.

Exports of the materials more than doubled in value between 2015 and 2017, however, the document said.

In a statement, the ministry confirmed that talks about an export ban were under way.

"Discussions on this topic are currently ongoing and a string of meetings has been planned with industry representatives … and government agencies," the ministry statement said.

Among businesses that will be represented at the talks are gold producer Polyus and gold and silver producer Polymetal, the ministry said.

A decision will be taken after the meetings are held, it added.

If the proposed ban is passed, it will primarily concern the export of raw materials of minimal added value, the ministry said.

The ministry does not have plans to consider any ban on the export of precious metal ores or concentrates in the near future, it added.

(By Polina Ivanova; Editing by David Goodman)