Sustained greenfield and brownfield exploration programmes are key to our long-term growth, alongside the cost-effective drive to increase our resource base through the development of next-generation assets.
To optimise our portfolio of exploration projects, we focus on areas adjacent to our processing or potential hubs (brownfield), and on assets with the potential to become sizeable, standalone operations (greenfield). The advancement of all exploration projects is subject to rigorous review through pre-determined project stages, which are linked to our estimate of the resource potential and its economic prospects.
- Group Ore Reserves increased by 5% year-on-year to 25.2 Moz of gold equivalent (GE) due to successful exploration results with the subsequent re-evaluation of Ore Reserves at Kyzyl, Veduga, Kutyn and initial estimate at Primorskoye (Dukat hub). GE Ore Reserves per share also grew by 5%.
- Mineral Resources (additional to Ore Reserves) declined by 4% year-on-year to 25.4 Moz of GE. The Lichkvaz disposal and conversion of Mineral Resources to Ore Reserves at Kyzyl, Primorskoye and Veduga were largely compensated by initial Mineral Resources estimate of Elevator (Varvara hub) and increase of resources at Albazino and Svetloye.
- The average grade in Ore Reserves remained largely unchanged over the previous year at 3.7 g/t of GE. It continues to be one of the highest within the sector globally. The average Mineral Resources grade also remained stable at 5.2 g/t of GE.
- In 2019, the Company maintained conservative price assumptions for both Ore Reserve and Mineral Resource estimates at US$ 1,200/oz for gold and US$ 15/oz for silver.
- Polymetal completed 198 km of exploration drilling in 2019. Drilling expenses amounted to US$ 18.1 million.
In 2020, Polymetal will continue to invest in both near-mine and greenfield exploration projects in order to increase Ore Reserves.
The key objectives are as follows:
- Prepare initial Ore Reserve estimate for East Bakyrchik (Kyzyl)
- Prepare initial Ore Reserve estimate for Prognoz
- Complete Ore Reserve estimate update at Veduga
- Prepare initial Ore Reserve estimate for Voro refractory ore
- Prepare initial Mineral Resource estimate at Talgiy (Albazino)
- Upgrade Mineral Resources categories at Elevator.
The Company also plans to further develop its cooperation with junior exploration companies and enter into several new strategic partnerships. In 2020, the results of the first field season of the work of existing junior partners are expected.