Our flagship project

Quick facts

Location East Kazakhstan Region, Kazakhstan
Ownership 100%
Operating mines Bakyrchik
Exploration projects Bakyrchik flanks, Bolshevik
Mining Open pit (until 2036) followed by underground
Processing 2.0 Mtpa flotation plant + Amursk POX + concentrate offtake
Reserves (JORC) 10.1 Moz GE, 5.4 g/t average grade
Resources (JORC) 1.7 Moz GE, 3.8 g/t average grade
Production start date Q2 2018
Life of mine 2050
Employees 1,296
Key 2020 numbers


Kyzyl is a world-class asset 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 currently the main source of medium-term growth and significant shareholder returns.

The operation comprises the Bakyrchik refractory gold deposit and a state-of-the-art processing plant that delivered first concentrate production in Q2 2018. In Q3 2018 Kyzyl reached nameplate capacity of 150 kt per mounth and recoveries of 86%. In 2019 Polymetal produced 343 koz at AISC of US$ 514/oz.

Bakyrchik will be developed via open-pit mining for more than 15 years and substituted by underground mining that can potentially last more than 20 years. Mined ore is processed via conventional flotation that delivers two types of concentrate — high carbon and low carbon. Low carbon concentrate is sent for processing to our POX facility in Amursk, while the high carbon concentrate goes to third party offtakers.

Location History Operations Reserves and Resources Exploration

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 Nur-Sultan 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.

In 2014 the Kyzyl gold project (the “Kyzyl Project”) comprises the Bakyrchik and Bolshevik gold deposits was acquired by Polymetal.

In 2015 company announced the successful completion of the Feasibility Study (''FS'' or the ''Study'') for the Kyzyl gold project and the updated Ore Reserve and Mineral Resource estimates. Later that year The Board made a positive decision to proceed with the Kyzyl construction and development.

In 2018 Polymetal achieved the start-up of the concentrator one month earlier compared with the January 2018 updated plan. In Q3 2018 Kyzyl reached nameplate capacity of 150 kt per month and recoveries of 86%.


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 is processed via conventional flotation at the 2.2 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 58.3 5.4 - - 5.4 10.1 - - 10,107
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 13.8 3.8 - - 3.8 1,695 - - 1,695
  • In 2020, an initial Ore Reserve estimate for East Bakyrchik (Kyzyl) was completed amounting to 2.2 Moz of gold with an average grade of 3.7 g/t. The total Kyzyl Ore Reserves increased to 10.1 Moz with an average grade of 5.4 g/t. The Ore Reserve estimate for East Bakyrchik incorporates data from the 29.9 km drilling campaign (168 drill holes) conducted in 2015-2020. Additional Kyzyl Mineral Resources amounted to 1.7 Moz of gold for underground mining with an average grade of 3.8 g/t.
  • Also, in 2020, Polymetal continued exploration drilling at East Bakyrchik in order to confirm the possibility an extension of the open pit and an increase in resources. 10 drill holes totaling 2.4 km were completed resulting in better definition of the ore bodies’ outlines and the boundaries of mineralisation.
  • In 2021, further exploration at Eastern Bakyrchik sites is planned to convert open-pit Mineral Resources into the Indicated category. Additionally, Polymetal is planning exploration drilling to prospect the eastern flank of the Kyzyl shear zone including the Sarbas and Karmen deposits. Also, deeper levels of the ore body 1 will be traced to increase Inferred resources.

While the selected annual report is being downloaded, we want to draw your attention to the Sustainability Report. It provides detailed information on ESG indicators.

While the selected files are being downloaded, we want to draw your attention to the reports on the sustainable development of the company. They provide detailed information on ESG indicators.

You can also download historical data on sustainable development.