The launch of several large mines in Russia’s far east boosted the country’s gold production by 21% in the first seven months of 2009, according to the Russian Gold Industrialists’ Union.

Gold output jumped to 101.768 metric tons between January and July from 84.13 metric tonnes in the same period in 2008.

The increase has been attributed to the launch of several major projects including Kinross Gold’s Kupol mine in the remote Chukotka region.

Other major projects that impacted production levels include the Pioneer project in Amur, owned by Peter Hambro Mining, and the Kamgold-operated Aginskoye project in the Kamchatka peninsula.

Russia is world’s fifth-largest gold miner and has the world’s second-largest gold reserves after South Africa. The country accounted for about 8% of global gold output in 2008, Reuters reports.