The Kutyn heap leach facility is expected have an annual ore processing capacity of 1.3Mtpa.

Gold and silver mining company Polymetal has announced the production of first gold at its Kutyn mine in Khabarovsk, Russia.

Located in Tugur-Chumikan, Khabarovsk, and 114km north-west of the Polymetal-operated Albazino mine and 10km from the sea of Okhotsk, the mine was purchased by the Russian firm in 2011.

Ore from the mine is planned to be processed through a heap leach facility, followed by the Merrill-Crowe process.

Polymetal said it poured first gold at the Kutyn heap leach facility, following the successful completion of construction and commissioning activities.

Subsequently, the facility produced 6Koz of gold. The facility is expected to produce 40,000oz of gold this year and reach the full heap leach processing capacity of 1.3 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) of ore in 2023.

Polymetal group CEO Vitaly Nesis said: “Remote location, severe climate, and unprecedented supply chain disruptions presented major challenges at Kutyn.

“The project team successfully overcame all difficulties to deliver first production six months ahead of the original schedule. This achievement underscores Polymetal’s outstanding track record in project execution.”

Polymetal plans to start processing the refractory ore at the Albazino concentrator in 2025.

The company estimates that between 2023 and 2030, the average annual output of gold will be around 100Koz.

Polymetal said the capital expenditure of the project stood at $110m, marking a 38% icnrease from the original estimate.

The increase in capital expenditure was mainly attributed to higher fuel prices and the impact of Covid-19 on labour and logistics costs.

According to the company’s estimates, the Kutyn mine has JORC-compliant ore reserves of 12Mt of open-pit oxide and refractory ore with 1.1Moz of gold equivalent at a grade of 2.9g/t, Mining Technology writes.