According to information presented by the “Mining Industry. Central Asia” magazine through inbusiness.kz, the Vasilkovsky deposit in Kazakhstan is a significant source of gold. After the completion of open-pit mining operations in 2026, the company, specifically the “Kazzinc” division of Altyntau Kokshetau, plans to process off-balance ores from its stockpiles. This new project for gold extraction from the Vasilkovsky deposit has been posted for discussion on Kazakhstan’s Unified Environmental Portal.
The company’s mining operations are expected to reach a depth of 540 meters by 2026, with a horizon of -305 meters. It is worth noting that a considerable portion of the Vasilkovsky deposit’s reserves has already been mined. In 2022, experts conducted a reevaluation of the resources and included them in the state balance. The documented reserves indicate that the subsoil contains 37.38 million tons of gold-bearing ores with 73.77 tons of gold at an average content of 1.97 g/ton. Additionally, there are 6.58 million tons of ore and 12.08 tons of gold categorized as presumed.
The enterprise has a designed capacity of processing 8 million tons of ore annually. The existing gold processing plant, which has been operational since 2009, will handle the raw material. The processing method will remain the same, utilizing a gravity-flotation beneficiation scheme followed by sorption cyanidation of the finely ground flotation concentrate.
Furthermore, the report highlights that the Vasilkovsky and Bakyrchik deposits are the largest gold assets in Kazakhstan. The Vasilkovsky deposit alone boasts approximately 370 tons of proven reserves, with a gold content of 2.8 g per ton. On the other hand, the Bakyrchik deposit holds around 326 tons of precious metal, with a higher gold content in the ore, at 7.7 g per ton.
Gold-bearing ore from the Vasilkovsky deposit undergoes multi-stage processing at the company’s ore-processing plant to produce doré. The resulting doré alloys are then sent to the Ust-Kamenogorsk Metallurgical Complex’s refining plant. Additionally, the company is involved in gold refining into bars.
Altyntau Kokshetau contributes significantly to Kazakhstan’s gold production, bringing in up to 400,000 troy ounces of gold to the country each year.
Overall, Kazakhstan is home to approximately 300 gold deposits, spread across all regions of the republic, with a concentration in the East Kazakhstan and Akmola regions. As of June 2022, Kazakhstan’s gold reserves stood at 373.4 tons, ranking the country 14th among the world’s largest “gold” countries. Notably, in the first quarter of 2022, Kazakhstan held the highest gold reserves among Central Asian countries.
In 2021, the country produced approximately 33 million tons of ore and 66 tons of refined gold, as reported by Marat Karabaev, Deputy Minister of Industry and Infrastructure Development, at the Third Forum of Gold Miners of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan’s gold mining enterprises also export a portion of the extracted metal to other countries, with primary destinations being Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Italy. According to the National Statistics Bureau of Kazakhstan, gold exports in bars and other unprocessed forms witnessed an 18% increase in the first nine months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Notably, Kyrgyzstan received the largest amount of precious metal, totaling $4.6 million, followed by Russia with $235.6 thousand, Uzbekistan with $34 thousand, and Italy with $12.5 thousand.