(Reuters) – Russia may buy an as yet undetermined amount of rough diamonds from sanctions-hit producer Alrosa through its state precious metals and gems repository Gokhran, the country’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said on Wednesday.
The United States imposed sanctions on state-controlled Alrosa in April, complicating the Russian company’s operations in the global diamond market, with the aim of cutting off a source of revenue for Russia.
“We do not rule out the possibility of Gokhran purchasing diamonds produced by Alrosa. The amount will be determined later,” Siluanov told reporters.
Gokhran is generally more focused on purchases of precious metals from Russian domestic producers than diamonds, he added.
Alrosa, the world’s largest producer of rough diamonds, was behind about 30% of global output in 2021 and competes with Anglo American unit De Beers.
Its sales, mainly to Belgium, India and the United Arab Emirates, totalled $4.2 billion in 2021.
Gokhran bought diamonds worth $1 billion from Alrosa during years of weak demand caused by the global financial crisis.
($1 = 73.8720 roubles)
(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Alexander Smith)