Russia’s largest gold producer Polyus Gold has announced that it is on track to commence full scale production at its Natalka project in summer 2014.

This announcement comes despite a fall in gold prices, which offset sales in the first half of fiscal 2013.

The company began mining works at the site in February 2013 and expects to start production at the mine in winter 2013/2014 through a partial production process.

Earlier, the firm planned to commence full production by the end of this year.

Located about 400km away from the sea port of Magadan in the Far East of Russia, Natalka is one of the largest undeveloped gold deposits in the world and has the potential to produce 1.5 million oz of gold a year.

In the first half of 2013, 1.4 million tonnes of ore were mined for stock-piling from Natalka site, including 241,000t at 2.0g/t, 637,000t at 1.0g/t and 549,000t of ore at 0.6 g/t.

In second quarter of 2013, 562,000t of ore were mined, including 213,000t of 2.0g/t ore.

The company now anticipates production of high-grade ore to continue even in the second half of 2013.

Polyus, which is the world’s fourth-largest gold company by reserves and the owner of Russia’s biggest gold mine, Olimpiada, had earlier planned to invest around $1.2bn in the construction of Natalka in 2013, reports Reuters.

In the first half of 2013, Polyus’ Gold production from continuing operations rose by 7% year-on-year to 718,000oz, as against 670,000oz in the corresponding period a year ago.

The company witnessed significant increase in gold production at Verninskoye, Blagodatnoye and Titimukhta mines by 80%, 12% and 38% respectively due to higher processing volumes and increased recovery rates.

While gold production increased at its mines, the company’s sales in the first half dropped 19% to $987m compared to the same period due to a record drop in gold price in the international market.

The price of gold dropped by over 20% this year.

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