Russian Presidential hopeful Mikhail Prokhorov's Polyus Gold said core earnings rose nearly 40 percent to more than $1 billion in 2011, driven by increased output from its Siberian and Kazakh mines and strong gold prices.

The company, which is waiting for Russian government approval to launch a full London stock-market listing, said on Monday earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) came in at around $1.04-1.06 billion last year, up from $717 million in 2010.

Polyus wants to join fellow Russian miners Polymetal and Evraz as a member of London's blue-chip FTSE 100 index, where it hopes to boost its international profile and explore a potential mega-merger with a mining rival.

Polymetal, which mines gold and silver, was forced to deny it is in negotiations with Polyus about a merger last week, while analysts have named Canada's Kinross Gold among a list of potential partners.

Polyus, also co-owned by potash tycoon Suleiman Kerimov, produced 1.5 million ounces of gold last year, up 8 percent on 2010.

Chief Operating Officer James Nieuwenhuys said the increase was down to stabilising operations at its biggest mine, Olimpiada in central Russia, and the growth of two other mines.

He added that the Verninskoye mine was commissioned in December, and would make a meaningful contribution to production in 2012.

The firm did not give more detailed guidance.

Polyus shares were trading down 0.6 percent at 1256 GMT, in line with Polymetal.

Gold sales in the period were $2.36 billion, up from $1.71 billion in 2010.

The price of gold, widely seen as a safe haven for investors during uncertain economic times, has fallen from record highs of over $1,900 an oz in early September, but remains relatively buoyant at more than $1,700 an ounce.