A diamond mine in the Sakha Republic (file photo) (ITAR-TASS)
7 February 2006 -- Russia says it will increase its holding in the state diamond group Alrosa to more than 50 percent, but will then lift the group's monopoly on diamond sales.
Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin said the state is planning to increase its stake in Alrosa to 50 percent plus one share in Alrosa within six months.
He said one option would be to acquire the 23-percent stake currently owned by employees.
Russia's government owns 37 percent of Alrosa, while the regional government of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic in eastern Siberia, where most of the Russian production takes place, controls 40 percent of the company.
Kudrin said that after acquiring a majority holding, the Russian government will lift state regulations on imports and exports of Russian diamonds and abolish the state monopoly on diamond sales.