25 Jan 2023 16:00

Polymetal considers site in Kazakhstan's Pavlodar region for POX-3 hub

MOSCOW. Jan 25 (Interfax) - Polymetal is considering a site in Kazakhstan's Pavlodar region for a third pressure oxidation or POX hub, the gold and silver miner said in a presentation.

This is an industrialized region with good infrastructure, with a port on the River Irtysh and road and rail access, Polymetal said. The potential site is located approximately 500 km from Polymetal's Kyzyl asset, the concentrate from which, along with purchased concentrate, will be processed by the new hub; and 440 km from Astana.

Polymetal had planned to build what will be its third POX hub in Sovgavan in Russia's Khabarovsk territory, but decided last year to build it in Kazakhstan instead.

"The feasibility study, which was going to be done for Sovgavan, will be used for this new site, because it is absolutely clear that autoclave production [for POX hubs] in Russia cannot be started from scratch in the current conditions," Polymetal CFO Maxim Nazimok told Interfax at the end of last year.

Key parameters are the same as for the POX-2 hub, according to the presentation, with capex of around $730 million and capacity of around 250,000-300,000 tonnes of concentrate per year.

The investment decision may be made in the second quarter of 2024, when construction of the Amursk or POX-2 hub in Russia is completed, in which case the hub could be commissioned in H2 2028.

"Concentrate from Kazakhstan's Kyzyl is almost the Amursk POX hub's main feed. When an autoclave appears in Kazakhstan, we will process everything that comes from there within the country," Nazimok said. "Amursk POX capacity is freed up, and can be used to process third-party feedstock," he said.

Polymetal is Russia's largest silver producer and one the country's leading gold miners. It has operations in the Magadan and Sverdlovsk regions, the Khabarovsk Territory, Yakutia, Chukotka, and Kazakhstan. Polymetal's largest shareholder is ICT Group of Alexander Nesis and partners with around 24%