Kyzyl development project

Our flagship project

Quick facts

Location East Kazakhstan Region, Kazakhstan
Ownership 100%
Mining open pit (10 years) followed by underground
Processing 1.8 Mtpa flotation plant + concentrate offtake
Reserves (JORC) 7.3 Moz GE, 7.7 g/t average grade
Resources (JORC) 3.1 Moz GE, 6.8 g/t average grade
Production start date Q3 2018
Life of mine 2039 (22 years)
Employees 511
33% IRR
US$ 750M NPV
US$ 518 / oz AISC
US$ 488 / oz TCC


Kyzyl is a world-class asset and one of the best development-stage gold projects in the world that was acquired by Polymetal in 2014 for a total of $618.5 million. With its large high-grade reserves and low capital intensity, the asset is set to become the main source of medium-term growth and significant shareholder returns.

Once completed, the project will comprise the Bakyrchik refractory gold deposit and a state-of-the-art processing plant that is anticipated to deliver first concentrate production in Q3 2018. The deposits will initially be developed via the open-pit method (10 years) and later be substituted by underground mining. Mined ore will be processed via conventional flotation followed by third party off-take and/or pressure oxidation at Polymetal’s POX facility in Amursk.

Location History Operations Reserves and Resources Exploration Development Update

The Kyzyl Project is located in north-eastern Kazakhstan in a traditional mining region with good infrastructure and easy access to grid power and the railway. Based in the Auezov Village, the site is approximately 750 km east of the capital city of Astana and 75 km west of the mining and metallurgical industry centre of Ust-Kamenogorsk (or Oskemenpopulation of approximately 300,000). Kyzyl is also in close proximity to the Russian (120 km) and Chinese (330 km) borders. The nearest railway station is 6 km away in the village of Chalobai, connecting Ust-Kamenogorsk to Shar, as well as Russia, China and Europe.


The Kyzyl Shear was discovered in the early 1950’s by surface trenching. Open-pit production commenced in 1956 at roughly 19 Ktpa at an average Au grade of 9.4 g/t. By 1969, production increased to 165 Ktpa at an average Au grade of 8.5 g/t and by the time open-pit production ceased in 1994, approximately 2.1 Mt of high-grade ore (7.6 g/t) had been processed.

Underground mining, on the other hand, commenced in 1963 with production ranging from 20,000 tpa to 95,000 tpa. As of the suspension of underground mining in 1997, approximately 1.7 Mt 7.4 g/t Au had been produced. Ore was mostly sold to smelters as gold-bearing flux.

In 1992, an international joint venture was formed to operate Bakyrchik, and two years later a provisional processing plant was constructed with a capacity of 150,000 tpa, incorporating conventional flotation, nitric-acid sulfide oxidation (Redox) and CIP. However, operating results turned out negative and this option was abandoned in 1996. From then on, extensive metallurgical test work and multiple scoping studies were undertaken to determine a potentially viable development approach for Bakyrchik.

A number of options were considered, including a combination of open-pit and underground mining at several production rates, as well as rotary kiln or fluidised-bed roasting processes. Subsequently, a 100,000 ktpa single-stage roaster using a rotary kiln operated at Bakyrchik between 2009 and 2010, achieving gold recovery between 30% and 60% at less than the designed throughput rate.

At Bolshevik, open-pit production commenced in 1985 and ceased in 2004 with approximately 1.1 Mt of ore at a 5 g/t grade produced and sold to smelters as gold-bearing flux. In addition, a 100 ktpa pilot plant that used flotation followed by bioleaching and CIL operated in 2003-2004 but did not achieve positive economic results.

No meaningful production activity has taken place at the Kyzyl Project after 2010 and until the asset was acquired by Polymetal in 2014.

Given the flat-dip and high-grade nature of the deposit, Kyzyl will be mined via conventional drill-and-blast, truck-shovel open-pit mining methods for the first 10 years of operation. Once open-pit mining activities are finalised, the asset will be developed via the underground for another 10 years.

Kyzyl ore will be processed via conventional flotation at the 1.8 Mtpa on-site circuit. The circuit comprises single-stage crushing followed by grinding (in one SAG mill and one ball mill) and three-stage conventional flotation. The flotation gold concentrate is then thickened, filtered, dried and packed into big bags that are transported to the Amursk POX facility for further processing, or sold to third-party off-takers in China.

Ore Reserves Tonnage, Mt Gold grade, g/t Silver grade, g/t Copper grade, % GE grade, g/t Gold, Koz Silver, Moz Copper, Kt GE, Koz
Total 29.2 7.7 - - 7.7 7,254 - - 7,254
Mineral Resources Tonnage, Mt Gold grade, g/t Silver grade, g/t Copper grade, % GE grade, g/t Gold, Koz Silver, Moz Copper, Kt GE, Koz
Total 14.2 6.8 - - 6.8 3,107 - - 3,107

The Kyzyl Project offers various options of increasing existing reserves, either through resource-to-reserve conversion from previously explored areas or through adjacent properties that are covered by the Bakyrchik and Bolshevik exploration licenses.

At Bakyrchik, 49 holes totaling 8.3 km were drilled at the eastern flank of the deposit with results indicating strong potential to increase open pit reserves. In-fill drilling leading to an updated ore reserve estimate is planned for 2018.

In 2017, full-scale construction activities are progressing in line with the project schedule:

  • In Q3, stripping volumes at Kyzyl increased 70% over the previous year to 12,784 Kt as the preparation of the open-pit is underway. All mining activities are proceeding in line with the schedule to produce first ore in March of 2018.
  • Foundations for the mills and other processing equipment have been completed together with the tunnel gallery leading from the crusher to the main concentrator building.
  • Installation of all major processing equipment has been finalised with the bulk of construction activities now focused on the tailings storage facility.
  • All external electrical infrastructure (substation, power lines, switchboxes) is now fully operational.
  • Concentrate off-take contracts under negotiation and are expected to be signed in Q1 2018.

The project remains on track to deliver its first concentrate in Q3 2018.


Full ESIA documentation is available locally at:

  • Kyzyl office
    Address: Auezov village, Zharma area, East Kazakhstan region, 070605, Republic of Kazakhstan
    Contact Name: Galina Chudina,
    Telephone: +7.723.249.26.00
  • EBRD office in Astana
    Address: “SAAD” BC, 10th Floor, 2 Dostyk Street, Yesil District, 010000, Astana, Republic of Kazakhstan
    Contact Name: Anar Omarova,
    Telephone: +7.717.255.42.46
  • EBRD office in Ust-Kamenogorsk
    Address: 21 Maxim Gorkiy street, “Antares” Business Centre, Suite 208, Ust-Kamenogorsk, 070004, Republic of Kazakhstan
    Contact Name: Zhaniya Karmenovа,
    Telephone: +7.723.224.89.38
  • Akimat of Auezov village
    Address: Mira Street 90 B, Auezov Village, Zharma Area, East Kazakhstan Region, Republic of Kazakhstan
    Contact Name: Slyamgaliuly Aytkali,
    Telephone: +7.723.475.52.22


In person, in writing or over the phone to the Community Liaison Officer in Kazakhstan, which will be recorded on a feedback form:

Contact Name: Beibit Askerkanov, Community Liaison Officer

Address: Auezov village, Zharma area, East Kazakhstan region, 070605, Republic of Kazakhstan

Telephone: +7.723.249.26.00

Fax: +7 (723) 55-636


In writing through the feedback boxes located at:

  • The entrance to mine site
  • Akimat of Auezov village

The ESIA package and Non-Technical Summary have also been released for public review on the Akimat website

Q3 2017 update:

Construction works are in progress and key infrastructure related to processing and supporting infrastructure are well advanced. Stripping activities in the pit area are ongoing. Reporting by the Company has confirmed that good progress is being made with respect to implementation of the ESAP and the project is demonstrating good E&S performance. E&S issues are managed through a project environmental and health and safety management system which has been developed in line with international standards. All ESIA and ESMP requirements have been integrated into this management system. All contractors are required to comply with the requirements of the management system and this is reviewed by the Company. The Company continues to implement the Stakeholder Engagement Plan and regularly engages with Project stakeholders.