7 Oct 2009 14:23

UGC could mine 5% more gold in Chelyabinsk region in 2010

PLAST, CHELYABINSK REGION. Oct 7 (Interfax) - The Uzhuralzoloto Group of Companies (UGC), a gold producer from Russia's Chelyabinsk region, plans to increase output 5% from this year's forecast in 2010, its managing director, Roman Berger, told reporters.

"We plan to mine 4 tonnes of gold this year, approximately 5% more than last year, when we produced 3.8 tonnes," he said.

UGC could therefore produce 4.2 tonnes in 2010.

Production at the Chelyabinsk deposits could rise to 5 tonnes per year in three years thanks to upgrades and new projects.

UGC plans, for example, to start building a recovery plant with throughput capacity of 300,000 tonnes of ore per year at the Bereznyakovsky open pit in the Yetkul district in 2010. Berger said existing plants used the cyanide leaching method, but the new one would use a flotation method to increase recoveries to 90%.

UGC has refurbished two recovery plants - one of them built in 1911 - in Plast at a cost of $25 million this year, and plans in October to commission a leaching pad at the Zapadny Kurosan field, capacity 800,000 tonnes per year. In time, a 5-6 million tpa recovery plant could be built at the Svetlinsky open pit, Berger said.

Berger also said UGC was planning to acquire two or three new licenses in the near future, but he did not name the properties in question.

OJSC Uzhuralzoloto is the flagship enterprise of the Uzhuralzoloto Group of Companies (UGC), based in the Chelyabinsk region. UGC was created in summer 2007 with the assets of CJSC Uzhuralzoloto. The group holds licenses to a number of hard rock gold deposits, including Kochkarskoye, Svetlinskoye, Bereznyakovskoye, South Kurosan, West Kurosan and the Darasun cluster, located in the Chelyabinsk and Chita regions, Krasnoyarsk territory and Khakasia.

Earlier reports said overall gold production by UGC rose 6.5% to 169,200 oz or 5.261 tonnes in 2008, including growth of 7.2% to 118,800 oz (3.695 tonnes) in the Chelyabinsk region.

UGOLD Limited owns 99.995% of UGC, and Konstantin Strukov, the UGC board chairman, owns 99.98% of UGOLD Limited.