Russia-based Norilsk Nickel has commenced hot commissioning operations at Bystrinsky GOK, located in the Gazimuro-Zavodsky District of Trans-Baikal Territory, 350km from Chita.
The Bystrinsky GOK comprises the Bystrinsky mining and processing plant, and will mine gold-iron-copper ores to produce copper, gold, and magnetite concentrates.
The company noted that the area hosts the Bystrinsky gold-iron-copper deposit with total ore reserves of around 343mt, ensuring that the project will have an operational life of more than 30 years.
Construction of the plant began in 2013 and the company invested a total of RUR90bn ($1.5bn) in the project.
Nornickel president Vladimir Potanin said: “For us, this is not just yet another new asset, but also an opportunity to put to work the most advanced technologies in production, social policy, environment and human capital management.”
Once the project reaches its annual design capacity of 10mt of ore, it is expected to become the company’s third major production asset.
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The miner has its core operations on the Taimyr and Kola Peninsulas.
Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov said: “The capability of Russian business to successfully implement projects of such scale is a clear evidence of stability of the Russian economy and its ability to create new production sites and develop national infrastructure.
“This project should give a strong boost to development of the Trans-Baikal Territory and the entire Russian industry.”
The company expects the hot commissioning to last for several months.
Full-scale operation of the project is scheduled to commence by the middle of next year, with design capacity expected to be reached by the end of 2019.