Nezhda

Russia’s 4th largest gold deposit

Key facts

Location North-east Yakutia, Russia
Ownership 100%
Ore Reserves (JORC) 4.4 Moz GE at 3.6 g/t average grade
Mineral Resources (JORC) 8.1 Moz GE at 5.1 g/t average grade
Mining Open-pit +underground
Processing 2.0 Mtpa Flotation/Gravity concentration + off-take/ Amursk POX
Annual production 155-180 GE Koz
Production start date October 2021
Life of mine 2045
Employees > 1000

Overview

Nezhda is Russia’s fourth largest gold property located in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). The asset was fully consolidated by Polymetal in 2018. The construction took 38 months and the project was commissioned in October 2021.

The operation currently comprises open-pit mine and 2.0 Mtpa concentrator producing gold, silver and gravity concentrates which are sold to third parties and planned to be fully treated at the Amursk POX-2 after its launch in H2 2023. The underground mine is planned to be commissioned in 2031 and last until 2045. Starting from Q3 2022, 100% of energy for Nezhda will be sourced via the power line. Tailings from the plant are stored in the form of dry cake.

Location History Geology and Mineralisation Operations Reserves and Resources

Nezhda is a gold deposit in Russia, located in northeast Yakutia in the Tompon municipal district, approximately 480 km east from the city of Yakutsk (population of 350,000). The property is remote with access by an all-season unpaved road and no grid connection. The nearest federal highway is 110 km away from the deposit by all-year unpaved road. The highway provides direct access to the Khandyga river port (170 km) and the Nizhniy Bestiakh railway spur (540 km). The climate is characterized by long severe winters and short hot summers. The relief is moderately mountainous with relative altitudes above valley floors not exceeding 600 m.

The Nezhda gold deposit was discovered in 1951 during the Allakh-Yunskaya geological exploration expedition. From 1959, the deposit was subject to several exploration and evaluation initiatives resulting in newly identified ore zones. In 1975, a 180 Kt per annum underground mine and concentrator was commissioned at Nezhda with over 2 Mt of ore mined and processed before the operation was placed on care and maintenance in 2005. Polyus acquired the asset in 2006, subsequently undertaking an extensive exploration program and completing several technical studies.

Polymetal first entered into the joint venture for the property in 2015, acquiring a 15.3% stake in the South-Verkhoyansk Mining Company («SVMC») which owns the mining and exploration license for the property. In July 2017, the company has agreed to increase its stake to 24.7% with a call option to buy out the remaining 75.3% in 2018, subject to certain conditions. In 2018, after the Board approved the start of project construction, Polymetal consolidated 100% interest in Nezhda.

The deposit is composed of large mineralised zones, representing areas of intense brecciation comprised of crushed and sheared, hydrothermally altered, sedimentary rocks that have been variably enriched in quartz. The Nezhda mineralisation is double refractory due to the encapsulation of fine gold particles within sulphide minerals and significant presence of preg-robbing carbonaceous material.

The Nezhda Ore Reserve estimate is reported in accordance with the JORC Code (2012) as at 1 January 2020.

The estimate has been updated with 217 additional drill holes (39 km) and is based on data from a total 64,708 m of diamond drilling completed by Polymetal between 2015 and 2018 in addition to the 339,392 m of drilling completed by previous owners. Two hundred and ninety-four mineralised intersections were identified based on fire assay results.

Mineral Resources for the open pit were estimated up to a depth of 250 m from the surface, with the underground portion estimated up to a depth of 440 m from the surface.

The largest mineralised structure is ore zone 1 («OZ 1») which has a strike length of 4,900 m and a vertical extent of over 1,800 m and comprises approximately 70% of currently estimated GE resources at Nezhda. For OZ 1, top cutting at 80 g/t gold was applied to reduce outlier grade influence on local estimation. Another first-priority mining area is Ore Zone (OZ) 56.

Nezhda Ore Reserves estimate as at 1 January 2021
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 38 3.4 15 - 3.6 4,216 18.6 - 4,412
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 49.4 5.0 10 - 5.1 7,911 15.2 - 8,071
Mining

The open pit will be mined over 18 years via conventional drill-and-blast and truck-shovel methods, with a subsequent gradual switch to underground mining that will last for 15 years. The underground mine will utilise long-hole stoping with partially consolidated backfill.

Metallurgy and processing

The concentrator incorporates crushing, two-stage grinding, gravity and flotation, concentration. Concentrates are thickened, filtered, dried and bagged for off-site processing. Tails are thickened, filtered, and dry stacked in a fully lined tailings storage facility. Gold, silver and gravity concentrates which are sold to third parties and planned to be fully treated at the Amursk POX-2 after its launch in H2 2023.

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2019