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Light, but with character

EastRussia watched the commissioning of a field near Okhotsk

Light, but with character
Photo: Dmitry Shcherbakov


To get to the Svetloye deposit, which is at 240 kilometers from Okhotsk Okhotsk Okhotsk Okrug district, the top management of Polymetal company counted for lunch on Thursday. The day before the planned event Svetloe was abandoned by a group of artists who were to prepare and hold a celebration in honor of the official launch of the deposit into commercial operation. And by the morning of Thursday in the Okhotsk airport, all the participants of the event had already gathered. 

The journalists arrived the day before from Khabarovsk. General Director of Polymetal UK Vitaly Nesis arrived on the chartered An-24 airline Yakutia with his deputies and niece to 9: 30. Governor of the Khabarovsk Territory Vyacheslav Shport with deputies and attendants - on L-410 from Nikolaevsk-on-Amur to 10: 15. Having met with Vitaly Nesis in the airport hall, the head of the region left with him somewhere in the bowels of the building. A long wait began: Svetliy was informed that for the time being high guests could not receive due to the weather - the fog fell on the passes.

No road to the Light leads. In summer, it can only be reached by helicopter, in winter - by winter road. Unstable weather is peculiar to all northern cities, and the closure of Okhotsk airport due to weather conditions is not uncommon. But that day a bright sun stood over the Sea of ​​Okhotsk without the slightest hint of cloudiness. So I didn’t even believe that somewhere it’s not so far to fly anymore. 

The Okhotsk airport itself is small even by the standards of the Far East. One waiting room with two standard rows of metal armchairs, here - a baggage weighing station, through the door behind which you can see the inspection zone with one metal detector and one X-ray tape and then a pre-launch drive. At the airport there is no cafe or at least a point of sale of food, and only one toilet. By the arrival of Vitaly Nesis and Vyacheslav Shport, however, the second was quickly opened - with needles, usually locked away from ordinary visitors. But coffee in the public domain did not appear: on the second floor, where, according to rumors, there used to be a point of catering, now only tubs with green plants and a store that "does not work." 

By half of the first, the expectation became unbearable even for the head of Polymetal and the governor of Khabarovsk: they decided to drive through several objects of the company and have lunch. Over the next couple of hours, Vyacheslav Shport struck the ball a couple of times on a new sports ground built with Polymetal, and inspected the local port through which the company passes mostly ore. In the same vein, Vitaly Nesis asked the regional authorities to help the arbitration proceedings around the auctions on the property of another port in Komsomolsk-on-Amur be fair (EastRussia will tell you more about this story). 

But Light, alas, did not become available even after lunch. 

The head of the region was waiting at the ceremony for a reason: for 14 years, Polymetal has already introduced four large projects in the Khabarovsk Territory, invested only $ 80 million in Svetliye, and annually the regional budget will receive about 200 million rubles in taxes from the field. Honoring the visit of such a large taxpayer is a sacred duty of an official of this rank. However, with the Okhotsk weather you can not argue. 

Vyacheslav Shport tried to argue with the pilots about this, but unsuccessfully: "It's too dangerous, Vyacheslav Ivanovich," they answered. Then the head of the region got into his plane and flew back to the mainland. "With all your strength you do not let us into the field," he told Vitaly Nesis farewell in jest. And he invited him in August to Amursk, which does not depend on the weather conditions: the company will open the next line of its hydrometallurgical plant there. 

However, before September, as they say, Mr. Shport in Okhotsk will not appear. Too expensive, it's so easy to fly for 1300 km from Khabarovsk. But in the autumn elections of a new district head must be held, which will need to be formally presented to the Okhotsk establishment, and then Svetloe and the governor can again try to meet. 



The next day, there were no more questions about the weather on Svetly: the top management of Polymetal, accompanied by the media, flew to the deposit, not even through the Okhotsk airport, but from a separate helicopter pad nearby. By the beginning of the fourth, everyone was still in Svetloye, where both the stage and the workers had been ready for a long time. True, the concert, according to some sources, had already been held the day before. But the handing of letters from the leadership and solemn speeches were still in the future. 

To his credit, Vitaly Nesis was brief. And literally he told his subordinates the following: “I heartily congratulate you on our professional holiday, the Day of Metallurgist. In fact, Light began to work, produced its first metal almost a year ago. Nevertheless, we decided to coincide with the ceremony of official launch into commercial operation on the Day of Metallurgist this year. This is a great celebration for the company as a whole, for all people - both the employees of Polymetal and the employees of the partner companies who took part in the construction. And this, I believe, is a big holiday for the Khabarovsk Territory and a significant event for Russia. Once again I sincerely congratulate you on the holiday. Health, success, happiness to you and your families. Hooray!". 

Bright opened in 1973 year, but its exploration and development began only in December 2010, when the license for the field was bought by Polymetal. In September, 2014 began to build infrastructure for the operation of an open pit and a production complex. "Polymetal" operates in the Far East on the basis of three principles, explained Vitaly Nesis. "The first is active own geological exploration. The second is the use of processing hubs, when ore from different facilities is processed at the same factory. The third is the orientation toward high-quality deposits with a sufficiently high content of precious metals. We follow this strategy for a long time, and it brings us success. If Svetlana just started, then the Khakanja factory works for some time exclusively on the ores of other deposits, "he told reporters. 

In a year, the deposit should produce up to 2,5 tons of gold, for 2016, it produced slightly more than 700 kg. Meanwhile, Svetloye is a basic, but potentially far from the last, deposit in the South of Okhotsk and in the north of the Ayano-May district, which can be developed using Polymetal heap leaching technology, Vitaly Nesis says. "Over time, we hope that there will be new facilities, the base for processing of which will be Svetloe. The medium-term perspective is already clear, and long-term geologists work, "he says. 

The company, says the top manager, is increasing the amount of Light. "We have a fairly active program of geological exploration on the flanks of the field. Last year we received two licenses - the ore shows Finish and Levoberezhnoe. One is directly adjacent to the existing field, and the other - somewhere in 25 kilometers. Very promising results, I'm sure, the deposit will work at least 15 years ", - the head of Polymetal believes.  



At the moment, the ore is supplied to Svetloe from two quarries - Elena and Tamara. In the near future, ore should join them from the third mine, Amy. Prepare the ore for leaching at a special ore preparation complex. “It consists of a coarse crushing unit — a mobile jaw crusher, a screening unit, and a medium crushing cone crusher,” pours terms like a dump truck with ore, the head of a gold extraction plant (ZIF) of the deposit Andrei Lanenkin. - From the large-scale crushing unit, the ore enters the cone of crushed ore, from where a tunnel feeder is fed to the “screen”. Under the grate, the “rumble” product immediately goes to the stockpile of ore. Above the grate - goes to the additional crushing in a cone crusher. So goes the continuous cycle. As a result, we get the finished ore grade "minus 20 millimeters". " 

Behind the complex names of mining metallurgy there is at first glance a not very complicated scheme. Visually, ore production is a huge heap of sandy color in height with high-rise buildings. And no less huge tapes of conveyors, taking large pieces at the entrance and smaller ones pouring at the exit. The work of such large “conveyors”, between which dump trucks and loaders scurry about, consists of the process of preparing the ore to extract precious metals from it - gold and silver. 

The ore of the Light is not an easy one: it consists of secondary quartzites, therefore it is very hard and abrasive, which causes a lot of problems. Handle it only on wear-resistant equipment. For example, the moving parts of the crusher are constantly abraded, which is why every five to six days the complex has to be stopped for up to one and a half days to carry out repairs. At the same time, the ore from the Elena mine is smaller and is immediately screened out into the finished class, and the ore from Tamara is larger, and the capacity of the complex is lower. Therefore, the ore from different quarries has to be mixed, that is, mixed, in the ratio of one to one. 

At the moment, the productivity of the ore preparation complex of Svetly - 1 million tons per year. Million, of course, he has not yet processed. But the scale of activity of the long-running fields can be estimated from a helicopter: the waste rocks are gradually forming a plateau, from the top of which you need to go down along the serpentine road by road for several minutes. 

While on the Light crushed for an hour 350 tons of ore is large and a minimum of 272 tons - finely. "We have achieved an output of 272 tons per hour, but we are striving for more. This month, the hourly output has already grown to 292 tons per hour. The average capacity of the complex per day - 6200 tons, "- says the head of the mill. To increase productivity, he said, can be different measures. 

“First, they reduced the amount of oversized ore coming from the quarries,” the head of the factory lists. “They drew an excavator to the crushing work on the grate of the receiving bin. An additional loader was activated in order to release warehouses more quickly and the ore arrived more evenly. We also developed a technology instruction: for different types of ores, we use different parameters. ” As a result, the crushing process is built in such a way that only six people of the technological personnel can control it: five crushers and one shift master. In addition, the complex is serviced by three welders, three mechanic-repairman and one duty electrician. Plus, of course, drivers of various vehicles and dump trucks.


Leaching - business 

Now Svetloy is preparing the basis for the main technological process - heap leaching. For this, a large area is leveled and compacted. Then it will be tightened with waterproofing from polymers, mount drainage pipes and lay crushed ore on top of stacks. "We form a stack with a bulldozer. Then we involve the ore in irrigation. The system will consist of main pipelines, from which in summer solutions with cyanide will spray directly on top of the heap. Saturated with precious metals, the solutions are transported by gravity to the Merrill-Crow plant, at the outlet from which we get the finished product - cementate, "says Andrei Lanenkin. He clarifies that in order to extract 80,8% of gold contained in the ore, the heap needs to be irrigated for three years. The new layers of ore will gradually be stacked on top of the old ones.

The Merrill-Crow factory itself consists of several elements, says the chief engineer of the Svetloye field, Gennady Fukalov. It is a pumping station that pumping technical water from the water intake located in 2 km, separation of preparation of reagents for dissolution, coal boiler room for heating solutions supplied to the pile - they should not be colder than 12 degrees. Finally, the main installation with the English name is a system of precipitation of precious metals containing solutions to zinc. 

At one time, the engineer Merryl invented the technology, and Crow supplemented it with a proposal to de-oxygenate the solutions to enhance the precipitation. The productive solution is cleaned from suspended particles using clarifying filters, fed to the deaeration tower (“Crow tower”) to remove oxygen and then to the settling frame filter. 

The final product of the Svetloye deposit is a wet cement, in fact, zinc with gold and impurities deposited on it. The planned metal content in the substance is about 10%, but sometimes it turns out up to 30%, says Gennady Fukalov. “We remove two and a half tons of wet cement from the filters. From this volume you need to take away, roughly speaking, 50% water. We get up to a ton of substance, and approximately up to 100 kg of gold in it, ”cites the example of the chief engineer of the field. 

At the usual time cementum is locked in a special storage facility at a factory in bags, in appearance it is a damp earth. Having accumulated a certain volume, it is sent for processing to the Khakanja Polymetal factory, where it is dried: there is no drying at the Light Department, although it is planned to be opened. The head of Polymetal Vitaly Nesis promises that this will happen by the middle of September and will cost 150 million rubles. 

Then the Svetly product will have only one step to the sparkling ingot - to smelting, to a refinery.
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