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Far Eastern gold: passwords, turnout, players

Gold mining is one of the most dynamic industries in the region

The depletion of the mineral and raw materials base of existing deposits forces gold miners to expand their search horizons, moving away from the established infrastructure, creating a new one. For this, companies have to bear additional costs for logistics and energy supply. Nevertheless, in the Far East, with the opening of large ore-dressing plants, new points of growth of the industry appear.

Far Eastern gold: passwords, turnout, players
One of the largest regions of Russia in reserves of indigenous and alluvial gold is the Magadan Region. And for the production of silver (its production is planned to be increased to 2017 in 675) in Russia Kolyma holds the leadership. In the first half of the year, local miners extracted 11,7 tons of gold. This is a third more than a year earlier. In the current season, fishing on placer deposits in the region began in late April, and by July 4,5 t of precious metal (+ 8,63% to last year's level) was already mined. In terms of ore, during the reporting period, production increased by almost one and a half times - up to 7,2 tons.

According to Vladimir Mitkin, the Minister of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Magadan Region, the peak of production of precious metals in the region fell on 1930-1940, with the creation of the Dalstroy Trust. Then the annual gold production reached 80 t. Subsequently, the volume of the fishery was more modest, although for a long time the production was kept at a high enough level - 30-50 t per year. In the post-Soviet period, the decline turned out to be deeper, including due to the mining of large deposits. The historical minimum came in 2008 year, when it was received only 14,7 t gold.

True, in the last six years the industry has been on the rise. In the past production season, gold mining enterprises of the region produced 27,9 t of precious metal, which is more than the previous indicator for 3,4 t. Polymetal (its assets is OOO Omolonskaya Zolotorudnaya Company and Magadan Silver JSC), OJSC Susumananzoloto, JSC "ZRK Pavlik" (part of the investment company "Arlan"), the concern "Arbat" and JSC "GDK Berleh". According to the results of 2017, it is planned to produce 30,9 t gold.

The increase in production in the region is largely due to the expansion of production at the Pavlik deposit. As you know, a year and a half ago a gold extraction factory was opened here. Already in 2016, "ZRK Pavlik" received 3,8 tons of gold. And in the future plans - to increase the annual production to 12 tons.

Great expectations are also associated with the development of the Natalka deposit, where a powerful GOK is built, capable of processing up to 10 million tons of ore per year. Realizing the project, the company "Polyus" twice postponed the launch of the facility. According to the latest data, the governor of the Magadan Region Vladimir Pechenyi specifies, the Natalka deposit is planned to be commissioned by the end of 2017. The fact that construction work on Natalka is moving to completion, says the CEO of PJSC "Polyus" Pavel Grachev.

The opening of modern facilities positively affects the indices of the industry and in the Kamchatka Territory adjacent to Kolyma. So, in 2016, the combines of Kamchatka Gold JSC (included in the Renova Group of Companies) increased gold production by 114% - up to 5,4 t and 309% of silver - to 7,7 t. The main volume of precious metals was provided by Ametistovoe mine, which became For the peninsula in 2016 year of the mountain project of the year. In 2017, the company intends to consolidate the achieved volumes of gold production, but in the future it expects growth due to a new resource base. This summer, the Kumroch field, one of the most promising in Kamchatka, began the drilling season. The total investment in geological exploration in 2017 will be about 1 billion rubles. It is planned to build an enterprise on the Kumroch deposit, which will give 3,5-4,5 tons of gold annually.

However, positive dynamics in the production of precious metals is not observed in all subjects of the Far Eastern Federal District. Chukotka subsoil users last year produced 29,1 t gold - 3 t less than in 2015. The reduction in volumes is due to a decrease in 9,1% of ore production due to the development of reserves at a number of mines, the administration of the PJSC specified.

Indeed, the depletion of the mineral and raw materials base of large operating deposits is a serious problem for the Far East industry. This forces subsoil users to expand their search horizons and move away from the already established infrastructure. Thus, Polymetal, at 240 km south-west of Okhotsk, put Svetloye into commercial operation. Capital expenditures for the facility with an annual capacity of 2,5 t gold amounted to $ 80 million.

It is worth noting that in 2015-2016 years Khabarovsk region managed to attract more than 16 billion rubles of investments into the development of the mining industry, thereby laying the foundation for further increase in the volume of mining. As the head of the regional ministry of natural resources Alexander Ermolin noted, in the Mykolayiv district the "Belaya Gora" ore mining and processing enterprise is now successfully operating. In 2016, the volume of gold production was increased at Mnogovershinnoye (part of Russdragmet) and Resource Albazino (a subsidiary of Polymetal). Amur Gold LLC (controlled by the Russian Platinum Group of Companies) launched the Yubileinaya gold extraction plant at the Krasivoye deposit. The same company started development of the Perevalnoye gold deposit in the Ayano-Maysky district. In total in 2017, mining companies of the region plan to extract 19,5 t gold and more than 1,5 t of platinum.

Since the trend of recent years is an increase in the share of development of reserves by underground method, and, as is known, the cost of underground works compared to open-pit mining above, to create an investment attractiveness of the industry - today's non-trivial task for regional authorities. For example, in the Khabarovsk Territory, almost in 80 km from Komsomolsk-on-Amur, the largest gold-copper-porphyry deposit Malmyzhskoye was discovered. The search for metals in this ore field was conducted from 2010 year, as a result of evaluation works its approved reserves are 5,6 million tons of copper and 298 t of gold. The company "Amur Minerals", established by the American Khabarovsk Minerals LLC, was allowed to develop the strategic deposit. The beginning of industrial development is planned in 2021 year, by the year 2025 there will be a GOK with an annual production capacity of 75 thousand tons of copper and 3,6 t of gold in concentrate. By this time, "Amur Minerals" intends to invest in the project over $ 1,5 billion.

It is worth saying that in the south of the Far East, the experience of attracting foreign investments into the industrial development of precious metals is not yet so rich. At the end of 1990-X - early 2000-x in the Amur region there were many Chinese artels, but they, as a rule, engaged in small deposits of alluvial gold. Whereas, for example, large-scale licensed sites in Chukotka were visited by international players at that time.

Today the Canadian Kinross Gold Corp. is actively operating in the autonomous region. Through JSC Chukotka Mining and Geological Company and OOO Severnoye Zoloto, which are developing the Kupol deposit (2016 produced 10,7 t gold) and Double (10,5 t gold), respectively. The Karalveem mine (1,3 t gold) is being mastered by the international Auramine Resources Ltd., and the Valunistoye deposit (about 0,9 t gold) - the Millhouse Group.

China has not played an active role so far, but it has interest in the reserves of Far Eastern precious metals. With the participation of Chinese capital, projects were launched in the Magadan Region. Specialists of Tonhua Minban conduct geological exploration on the deposit of antimony and silver Morning, silver and gold Senon and Serebryanye, in the southeast part of the Burkhalinsky ore field, and also the Kegali mine. The company "Tian He" received a license for geological exploration and extraction of silver, zinc, copper and other metals on the Kunarevskaya prospective area.

It should be noted that at the moment, the Ministry of Regional Development of the Russian Federation's federal budget subsidizes infrastructure costs for several gold mining projects in the Far East. To build an access road to Ozernovsky GOK in Kamchatka, which is being developed by JSC Siberian Mining and Metallurgical Alliance, it is planned to allocate to the investor a subsidy in the amount of 758,4 million rubles. The construction of the 220 kV "February-Rudnaya" transmission line in the Amur Region for gold mining facilities of LLC "TEMI" is reserved 5,49 billion rubles. For the construction of the power transmission line 220 kV "Ust-Omchug - Omchak Novaya" for the Natalka gold deposit - 9,94 billion rubles. Also, an agreement on subsidizing infrastructure projects in Oymyakonsky district for 978 million rubles was signed with PJSC "Vysochaishy" (GV Gold) - the group is building the Taryn GOK.

Published in the bulletin "The Economy of the Far East"
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