LSE-listed gold miner Petropavlovsk delivered a 6% year-on-year production increase in 2020 and, although missing its guidance, its output was still broadly in line with market expectations.
The Russia-focused miner produced 548 100 oz in the year, compared with 517 300 oz in 2019.
The lower-than-expected production was the result of a weak fourth quarter. Own mined gold production amounted to 385 600 oz in 2020, and while third-party concentrate production increased to 162 500 oz, it was lower than expected, owing to logistical issues associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.
In the financial year, a total of 245 300 t of refractory gold concentrate was produced through the Pokrovskiy pressure oxidation (POX) hub, comprising 144 000 t from the Malomir concentrate, with an average grade of 29 g/t, and 101 300 t from third-party concentrate, with an average grade of 48.4 g/t.
Of the 140 100 oz of gold produced at Malomir in 2020, 122 400 oz of gold was recovered from refractory concentrates at the POX hub with recoveries averaging 91.4% and the balance from non-refractory gold ore.
Of the 162 500 oz produced from third-party concentrates in 2020, 148 000 oz of gold was recovered with recoveries averaging 93.8% and the balance representing gold released from circuit.
Further, the startup of Pioneer flotation plant and expansion of the flotation facility at Malomir continued as expected, with the commissioning of the Pioneer flotation plant now scheduled for the second quarter of 2021.
Once operational, the new Pioneer flotation plant will double the group's capacity to process refractory gold ore from its own mines, from 3.6-million tonnes a year (at the existing Malomir flotation plant) to a combined group total capacity of 7.2-million tonnes a year, thereby reducing the POX hub's reliance on treating low-margin third-party concentrates.
The construction of a third line at the Malomir flotation plant is underway and will further add 1.8-million tonnes a year of capacity from the first quarter of 2022, bringing the combined group total capacity to 9-million tonnes a year.