Ukraine, whose government estimates it has 2,500 to 3,00 tons of gold under the ground, will start large-scale mining for the precious metal to cash in on "the radical growth of the world price of gold," the State Service of Geology and Mineral Resources of Ukraine said Wednesday.

Ministry official Eduard Stavyts'kyi Ukraine said the country imports about five tons of gold per year and produces no gold of its own. By establishing the commercial mining of gold, its import may be reduced by one third.

"Moreover, in three to five years Ukraine is expected to produce at least one ton of gold domestically, gradually increasing its production capacity. The domestic production of gold, according to the ministry official, is to start this year," Stavyts'kyi said.

Gold mining will begin in western Ukraine and the Kirovograd region of central Ukraine.

Experts estimate Ukraine's gold resources at 400 tons in the Carpathian Mountains, 500 tons in the Donbass region ... with the rest of the resources located in the Kirovograd and Dnipropetrovs'k regions, as well as Crimea, the ministry said.

"Traditionally, gold has been used as a vehicle for monetary exchange. Despite the substitution of the gold standard by the dollar standard, gold remains an important national reserve, with every state stocking up on gold to secure its financial position, especially during the times of the financial crisis," the ministry said.