Kazzinc is studying technological and economic options for developing the Shalkiya zinc deposit in the Kyzylorda region. The company’s general director, Alexander Khmelev, shared this information in a conversation with an inbusiness.kz correspondent on the sidelines of the capital’s “Kazcontent 2.0” forum.
“It’s not a very simple deposit, and at the moment we are simply looking for both a technological and economic scheme of work that would be cost-effective. It has its own difficulties, a very interesting deposit, but very difficult to develop. We are right now at in fact, we look at what is out there in the world, as well as our thoughts and suggestions. Two or three weeks ago, in my opinion, we were there, we looked at everything, we passed through. And if we look at what we will go into, roughly speaking, in this maybe we won’t make it this year, but next year, because we have to start from the very beginning, because those approaches that provide profitability, economic efficiency of developing a deposit – you can’t wait for the completion of the construction of a factory there, or anything. there will be changes in the technological scheme, production, processing, enrichment. Accordingly, this needs to be done now, until construction is completed,” the top manager said, commenting on the question of whether the company will enter the mining project already after the construction of a processing plant there by the national mining company Tau-Ken Samruk.
In August, inbusiness.kz wrote that the Anglo-Swiss trader Glencore could buy the Kazakh Shalkiya mine. He is a shareholder of Kazzinc for almost 70%, the rest of the stake mostly belongs to Tau-Ken Samruk. The state-owned company is currently constructing a mine and processing plant, which was planned to be built in 2025. Previously, the total cost of the project was calculated at $691 million, a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) was attracted for $175 million, and co-financing was to be provided by Samruk-Kazyna.
“Initially it was estimated to be more than 600 million (dollars – approx.) , but we are now trying to facilitate as much as possible, I can’t say yet, that is, we are in the process of searching. The last meeting was held literally last week, meaning with manufacturers various types of equipment to see how to put the factory together more correctly. Therefore, it is difficult to say yet, everything is in a living process,” added the head of Kazzinc.
According to him, for now the project contractors continue to work on the construction of the mine.
“They are still continuing to do the work, we also looked at everything, how they work, what they do, we looked at all these things, but there are a lot of options, there is no final one yet. We don’t even know until the end whether there will be open-pit mining or underground… If If there is open-pit mining, then there will be a different technology, plus if it is underground, then we will also look at which mining scheme will be better. The layout changes every week. We are calculating a lot of different options, we are looking this way, that is, how it will be more efficient to mine there,” he noted in the conversation.
Let us remember that they tried to develop the Shalkiya zinc deposit back in the days of the Soviet Union, but due to its content, its development was then in question. Now it remains one of the few sources of significant zinc reserves in the country. In the meantime, Kazzinc has not yet made any truly significant geological discoveries for this metal, despite the presence of promising areas. At the same time, the company has questions about the possibilities of importing third-party raw materials from the Russian Federation.
“Zinc (raw materials from Russia – approx.) can still be transported, we take some volumes from there, but not so significant, this year, of course, the volume has decreased very much, but not even so much for zinc – that is, problems with zinc we had last year – we resolved them, determined a mechanism with the London Precious Metals Association, those issues were resolved, but this year we lost a very large flow due to the fact that the Russian Polymetal came under sanctions, and, accordingly, the entire the flow that we had from Polymetal was quite significant, all of it, naturally, came under sanctions and stopped… Roughly speaking, all gold-containing products there, by and large, not only gold – silver, gold, copper products were – naturally, everything stopped,” said Khmelev.
Now Kazzinc is shipping its products in the Chinese and Caspian directions, and more exotic routes are also being explored, he specified.
According to him, the mining and metallurgical company continues to work on the implementation of the best available technologies (BAT), according to a memorandum from the Ministry of Ecology, some of the work should be completed in 2025. The largest projects in this area are related to the transition from pyrometallurgy to hydrometallurgy and the reconstruction of sulfuric acid production to reduce CO2 emissions, Khmelev said, answering a question from inbusiness.kz.
Commenting on the progress of the implementation of the Railveyor ore transportation system to the surface of the East Kazakhstan Dolinny mine, which reduces underground emissions, the head of Kazzinc noted that this is happening with gradual improvement.
“Railveyor is used in much simpler versions wherever it is used. We have a very complex version. To be honest, for the first year, even more, we suffered a lot and there were a lot of problems, but now little by little, in principle, I can no longer say , which works ideally, but at least it works, that is, there are no longer such super-emergency situations, production stoppages,” he stated.
By the way, a pilot project to implement the Railveyor system was also tested at the Varvara hub of the gold mining company Polymetal in the Kostanay region.