The pressure oxidation (POX) hub of Russian miner Petropavlovsk has processed its first refractory ore – a month ahead of schedule, the company said on Wednesday, adding that it remained on track for commercial gold production from the POX in the first quarter.
Autoclave one processed 320 t of refractory ore concentrate, yielding a gold recovery rate of 93%, which is close to the projected design recovery of 98%. This, the company said, showcased the ability of the facility to effectively process the metallurgical complexities contained in the Malomir refractory concentrate.
The resulting pulp is being processed using conventional resin-in-pulp technology at the recently refurbished Pokrovskiy plant and first gold doré pour is expected in December.
Autoclave two has started hot commissioning and is due to process its first concentrate by year-end. Autoclaves three and four will launch in the second quarter of next year.
“Today's announcement marks a significant moment in the company's history, as we begin to process our refractory ore via the newest and most technologically advanced POX processing facility in Russia, a month ahead of schedule. There remains considerable work to be undertaken before we can reach full capacity; however, this initial performance is hugely encouraging for the company,” CEO Pavel Maslovskiy said.
The POX operations are the key to unlocking the value of the company’s 9.6-million ounces of refractory gold resources, which are difficult to process using traditional methods.