Polyus has poured the first doré gold at its Natalka mine, a major greenfield project in Russia’s Far East, during the ongoing hot commissioning process at the mill. The full processing facility is currently undergoing consecutive 24-hour trial runs.
The Russian gold producer expects the ramp-up of the Natalka mill to be completed by the end of 2018. The processing plant is the largest in the country with a capacity of 10 million metric tons per year (mt/y). Following the ramp-up, the mill is expected to achieve annual production of 420,000 ounces (oz) to 470,000 oz for the duration of the mine life. As a result, Polyus expects to produce 2.8 million oz of gold in 2019.
Natalka has ore reserves of 16 million oz and JORC Compliant mineral resources totaling 34 million oz. It is the 15th largest gold reserve globally. According to the company’s current plans, the open-pit mine has an estimated life of 31 years.
Located in the Tenkinskiy District of the Magadan Region, about 130 km from the Ust-Omchug, the Natalka deposit was initially discovered in 1942. Pilot mining using conventional underground stoping methods followed. In 1945, it was incorporated into the Matrosov mine and a processing plant was built in 1972. In August 2003, Russia auctioned a 38% stake in Matrosov mine, which controlled the Natalka license. Polyus won the auction and between 2005 and 2008, consolidated 100% ownership of Matrosov and the Natalka deposit.