Talas Gold Mining Company, a subsidiary of Britain's Norox Mining, has begun building a $68 million mine at the Jerooy gold deposit in Kyrgyzstan.
Prime Minister Nikolai Tanayev, who attended the ground breaking, welcomed the fact that an investor has finally been found to develop Jerooy. This should boost the Kyrgyz economy as a whole, the government press service quoted Tanayev as saying.
The project will use innovative engineering and technical solutions to reduce capital expenditures and speed up development and construction, the government said. The plan calls for construction of a compact mining operation with annual output of 1 million tons of ore using combined mining methods. Commercial production is scheduled to begin in the middle of 2005. Annual gold output is targeted at 7 tons.
Norox head William Charter estimated that total investment in the development of the deposit would reach $68 million.
Kusei Dzhamakeyev, deputy director at Talas Gold, told Interfax that the decision to speed up the Jerooy project was made after South Africa's MAED Ltd. became the major shareholder in Britain's Oxus, Norox's majority shareholder, in 2002.
The government revoked the license in May 2002 because Talas Gold, in which Norox Mining owns 66.67% and state-company Kyrgyzaltyn owns 33.33%, did not submit a bankable feasibility study on time or start development within the two years stipulated by the license. After negotiations, the state restored the license on the condition that Norox stick to schedule.
Norox and MAED specialists are now working on the Jerooy project together, Dzhamakeyev said.
Development will begin with open-cast mining. A deep mine will be built by June 2006. Planned output at the open-cast mine (from 3700 m to the mine floor at 3500 m) is 710,000 tons of ore with average Au grading of over 2.7 g/t, he said.
Tests have indicated a gold recovery rate of over 88% for ore with average grading and more than 90% for ores with higher grading.
According to Oxus, the Jerooy deposit contains total geological reserves of 3.45 million Troy ounces (107.3 tons) of gold. Preliminary estimates put recoverable reserves at 4.04 million tons of ore graded at 4.9 g/t for Au (about 640,000 ounces) that can be opencast mined and 5.84 million tons of ore graded at 9.3 g/t (about 1.75 million ounces of gold) can be deep mined.
Studies show that the ore is not rebellious and is easily milled, so it will be processed traditionally with crushing, milling and leaching using resin-in-pulp technology.
Interfax, October 28, 2003