JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Russian gold miner Petropavlovsk boosted its production by nearly 10% to 439 600 oz in 2017, achieving its guidance of 420 000 oz to 460 000 oz.
The higher production was supported by an almost 20% increase on the previous year from both the Pioneer and Malomir mines, chairperson Ian Ashby reported on Tuesday.
The Pioneer mine increased production from 133 200 oz in 2016, to 161 800 oz in 2017, while the Malomir mine’s production increased from 54 900 oz to 65 600 oz. The Albyn mine increased output from 173 900 oz to 181 600 oz, while the Pokrovskiy mine’s output decreased from 38 200 oz to 30 600 oz.
“We continued with the development of our underground operations at Pioneer and Malomir, which traditionally have been openpit mines. Developing underground operations at both mines simultaneously has proved to be challenging, and we did face some delays, mainly due to development delays at Malomir and issues with underground water at NE Bakhmut, Pioneer. Solid progress at Malomir towards the end of the year meant that these delays did not have a material impact on total production,” Ashby said.
He added that 2018 marked the beginning of a new era for Petropavlovsk with the closure of the Pokrovskiy mine, as the site was being transformed into a key component of the POX Hub – the group’s flagship development project.
“The construction of the POX Hub progressed as planned during the year and commissioning is expected to commence in September 2018. We have been cautious in our guidance around full-year production from the POX Hub as the technology, whilst proven globally, is new to Petropavlovsk,” Ashby said.
Gold production is forecast in the range of about 420 000 oz to 460 000 oz, including first production from POX Hub.