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.
|Location||East Kazakhstan Region, Kazakhstan|
|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|
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.
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
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%.
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|
|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|
- The updated Ore Reserve and Mineral Resources estimate for Bakyrchik conducted in 2019 incorporates data from additional 239 diamond drill holes, 41.5 km of drilling, which resulted in the extension of mineralization zones within the existing ore bodies and update of the resource model. According to the updated estimate, open-pit reserves amounted to 3.9 Moz of gold with an average grade of 5.6 g/t. Underground reserves increased to 4.3 Moz with an average grade of 7.1 g/t. Additional Mineral Resources declined by 374 Koz to 3.5 Moz with an average grade of 5.4 g/t due to conversion to Ore Reserves. Life of open-pit increased from 10 years to 14 years.
- In 2019, Polymetal continued exploration drilling at Kyzyl’s second ore zone, East Bakyrchik (Promezhutochniy and Glubokiy Log sections), to study the possibility of the open-pit expansion. 24 drill holes totaling 5.3 km of drilling were completed resulting in clarification of ore bodies’ contours and the mineralization boundaries.
- In 2020, after the exploration campaign of 30 km of drilling conducted in 2015-2020, Polymetal completed Ore Reserve estimate at Kyzyl’s second ore zone, East Bakyrchik (Promezhutochniy and Glubokiy Log sections) which amounted to 2.2 Moz of gold at an average grade of 3.7 g/t.