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Omolon hub

The ultimate processing hub: low capital intensity with multiple sources of high-grade feedstock

Quick facts

Location Magadan Region, Russia
Ownership 100%
Mining open-pit/underground
Processing 850 Ktpa CIP/Merrill-Crowe (Kubaka)
Reserves (JORC)

1.5 Moz GE, 3.7 g/t average grade

1.2 Moz GE at 6.8 g/t (CIP)

0.3 Moz GE at 1.3 g/t (HL)

Resources (JORC) 0.6 Moz GE, 10.3 g/t average grade
Production start date 2010
Life of mine 2024
Employees 725
Key 2016 numbers

Overview

The Omolon hub, formed in 2009, is an important asset in Polymetal’s portfolio of operations. As one of the most fully realized hub concepts in our portfolio today, Omolon comprises of the Kubaka processing plant, five operating mines: Tsokol, Birkachan, Olcha, Oroch, Sopka, and several near-mine development projects with high-grade open-pittable reserves and significant long-term potential. All parts of the hub are centred around the 850 Ktpa Kubaka CIP plant, which serves as a centralized processing facility for operating mines in the area and future near-mine feedstock.

Location History Geology Operations Reserves and Resources Exploration

All parts of the Omolon hub are located northeast of the Magadan region in remote and unpopulated areas covered with taiga forest, with only seasonal access. Land transportation between various parts of the Omolon hub is only possible during the winter via unpaved winter roads, some of which have been constructed by Polymetal. Fuel, consumables and spare parts are delivered to Kubaka and Birkachan via a winter road (usually accessible from January to April) and to Sopka, mostly through the port of Evensk during the summer (June to October), which is located in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Location

The history of the Omolon hub starts with the Kubaka deposit, which was first discovered in 1979. The Kubaka processing plant was built in the early 1990’s, and between 1996 and 2006, Kubaka was the largest gold producer in Russia, until the plant was put on care and maintenance due to the depletion of reserves at the deposit.

In 2008, Polymetal acquired the Kubaka plant together with four mining properties: Birkachan, Oroch, Tsokol and Prognozny. Shortly after, exploration activities commenced at Birkachan and Oroch with an objective to determine whether the recommencement of the Kubaka plant would be economically justified. In 2010, the modified plant was restarted and by 2011, a new processing section was launched that enables the plant to process ores with high silver content. The plant now includes a new leaching circuit, counter-current decantation and a Merrill Crowe circuit.

As a result of a rigorous approach to M&A activity, coupled with comprehensive near-mine exploration, Polymetal was able to consolidate several additional neighbouring licensed areas with robust transportation infrastructure. As a result, we were able to create a reliable and stable operation with low costs, all centred around one regional processing plant with multiple sources of feedstock.

Sopka Kvartsevaya

Sopka Kvartsevaya was discovered in 1969 and is a low sulphidation epithermal gold and silver deposit. It consists of several linear alteration zones enclosing relatively narrow adularia-quartz and quartz-carbonate veins. The main gold-bearing zone extends for 2.2 km dipping at low to moderate angles. It contains five high-grade shoots with adularia quartz veins, enveloped by a wide halo of alteration, which contains low-grade zones. In addition to native gold, the main carriers are electrum and kustelite.

Tsokol

Tsokol is a highly weathered near-surface vein deposit with almost vertical adularia-quartz veins form a continuous mineralised zone. It was first discovered in 1984. Ore shoots within the vein structure are on average 4 m wide, up to 110 m high and vary in length from 50 to 90 m. The ore is free-milling and is expected to yield gold recoveries of up to 95 per cent.

Oroch

Oroch was discovered in 1979 and was extensively explored from 1980 to 2005 through diamond drilling. It is located 110 km from Kubaka and approximately 20 km from the Kubaka-Sopka winter road. Oroch is an epithermal gold-silver deposit. The ore bodies are mainly composed of quartz and carbonate. They have a steep dip and an average width of 6 m.

Olcha

The mining and exploration licence covers an area of 2.5 square kilometers in the Srednekansk district of the Magadan Region and is located approximately 230 kilometres from the Kubaka processing plant. Olcha mineralisation is of the conventional low-sulfide epithermal type, free milling and with very high-grade bonanza-type shoots.

Birkachan

The Birkachan mineralisation is located in a 150 to 200 m wide zone. The mineralisation comprises two distinct types: gold-silver veins and disseminated stockwork. The individual veins generally have an average width of up to 2-8 m, extend up to 200-250 m along strike and down-dip and carry gold grades of up to 8 to 14 g/t. The stockwork comprises mineralised zones of 60 to 80 m thick extending 2.5 km along strike and 150 to 200 m down-dip from the surface and grading 1 to 3 g/t of gold.

Processing

The Kubaka plant currently uses only conventional CIP cyanidation technology. Run-of-mine ore is crushed in a jaw crusher, followed by two-stage milling (SAG mill and ball mill), thickening, CIP leaching, desorption, electrolysis, carbon regeneration and doré smelting. This processing option will continue to be utilised in the long term for ores with low silver content, such as ores from the Birkachan and Tsokol mines.

Flowcharts

0.8
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
Birkachan 5.9 3.1 10 - 3.2 594 2.0 - 617
Sopka Kvartsevaya 2.9 1.5 67 - 2.3 145 6.2 - 213
Oroch 3.7 163 - 5.8 97 4.3 - 154
Olcha 0.4 8.6 22 - 8.8 113 0.3 - 116
Dalneye 1.1 1.9 28 - 2.2 70 1.0 - 78
Tsokol Kubaka 0.7 7.5 10 - 7.6 164 0.2 - 166
Burgali 0.5 7.0 30 - 7.2 119 0.5 - 123
Total 12.4 - - - 3.7 1,300 14.5 - 1,466
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
Sopka Kvartsevaya 0.4 3.2 139 - 4.8 37 1.6 - 55
Oroch 0.4 4.9 403 - 10.2 68 5.5 - 141
Olcha 0.2 10.0 44 - 10.5 53 0.2 - 56
Tsokol Kubaka 0.1 9.3 17 - 9.5 22 0.0 - 22
Burgali 0.1 11.9 15 - 12.0 21 0.0 - 21
Irbychan 0.3 9.6 194 - 12.0 78 1.6 - 98
Yolochka 0.2 11.1 10 - 11.2 85 0.1 - 86
Nevenrekan 0.2 8.0 832 - 16.5 50 5.2 - 102
Total 1.8 - - - 10.3 414 14.2 - 582

We continue to work on a number of brownfield targets close to the Kubaka plant in order to extend the life of the mine.

A resource estimate at the Central, Northern and Eastern zones of the Irbychan deposit (veinlet-disseminated mineralisation type) has been completed, with the feasibility study being prepared. We plan to issue an initial reserve estimate in 2017 with the goal to start open-pit mining at the property in 2H 2019.

At Yolochka (veined and veinlet-disseminated ore bodies of low-sulphide gold-silver formation), as a result of infill drilling (6 km), new rich ore zones were discovered on the western flank. Core drilling will continue in 2017 with an aim to expand the resource base and prepare for the reserve and resource estimate in 2017.

At Nevenrekan, 8 km of drilling was completed at ore zone 2, as well as zones 1 and 5. In ore zone 1, high-grade ore sections were discovered, which, with further exploration, are expected to increase the resource base of the property. Drilling will continue in 2017 with a goal to upgrade resources into higher categories and prepare for the reserve estimate in 2018.

Gallery