Mining and metallurgical firm Norilsk Nickel and its partners have commissioned RUB90bn ($1.5bn) Bystrinsky mining and processing plant located in the Gazimuro-Zavodsky District of Trans-Baikal Territory in Russia.
The partners started hot commissioning operations at the Bystrinsky GOK greenfield project which will last for several months with full-scale operation expected to begin by mid-2018.
Norilsk Nickel said that the Gazimuro-Zavodsky District comprise large Bystrinsky gold-iron-copper deposit, which is estimated to hold 343 million tons of ore reserves.
With an operational life of more than 30 years, the Bystrinsky GOK will process gold-iron-copper ores to produce copper, gold and magnetite concentrates.
Nornickel president Vladimir Potanin said: “We are very proud that it took us just four years to build from scratch a plant of a caliber that commensurate of projects completed during the Soviet industrialization era.”
The Bystrinsky mining and processing plant is designed produce and process 10 million tons of ore annually on reaching full design capacity scheduled in 2019.
Russia Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov said: “This project should give a strong boost to development of the Trans-Baikal Territory and the entire Russian industry.”
Nornickel, the producer of palladium and refined nickel, has 50% stake in the Bystrinsky GOK while the Highland Fund, a consortium of Chinese investment funds and corporations, owns 13.33% interest.
The remaining 36.7% stake in the project is held by Nornickel co-owner Vladimir Potanin along with his partner Grigory Berezkin through CIS Natural Resources fund, according to Reuters report.
Since 2013, Nornickel has been carrying out constructing work at the plant, with Sberbank acting as the financial partner and creditor.