Name: Muruntau mine.
Location: Located in the Kyzylkum desert, 400 km west of Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan.
Brief history: The Muruntau ore deposit was discovered in 1955 by Soviet exploration geologists. The orebody was sufficiently delineated by 1965 to aid construction of a mine and production of gold. In February 1992, six months after Uzbekistan’s independence, Newmont signed a 50:50 joint-venture agreement with Uzbekistan governmental entities to mine and process a portion of the low-grade stockpiles. In October 1993, a feasibility study was completed, followed by construction and commissioning of the plant, which was officially opened on May 25, 1995.
Brief description: This is the first large foreign commercial gold project to be successfully engineered, constructed and commissioned into continuous operation in the Republic of Uzbekistan.
Mining method: Openpit mining.
Gold production: For 2003, gold output was up to 437 000 oz at a cash operating cost of $149/oz.
Geology: The Muruntau deposit was formed in the early Permian period during tectonic and magmatic activity related to the convergence and eventual suturing of the Kazakstan and Karakum-Tarim con- tinental masses. The ore consists primarily of a dark grey to near-black phyllite, which was extensively fractured by the tectonic activity. Magmatic fluids later flowed through these fractures and resulted in the formation of quartz and pyrite veining.
Major infrastructure and equipment: The plant comprises four-stage crushing and screening to produce ore suitable for heap-leaching and Merril-Crowe recovery. The present openpit, mill and refineryhave been processing ore since 1960.
Future prospects: Ore processing is currently scheduled through mid-2011.
Controlling company: Newmont signed a 50:50 joint-venture agreement with the Uzbekistan government.
Mine manager: Not stated.
Unique features: The mine was the largest gold producer in the Soviet Union, accounting for approximately 30% of its production. It is one of the largest openpit gold-mines in the world.
Tel: (998 7956) 4-68-98, (USA)(720) 875-8066 Fax: (USA)(720) 875-8067
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