Eurasia Mining has signed a mining contract for the 2019 season at its West Kytlim platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium and gold mine in the Ural mountains of Russia.
Kosvinsky Kamen (KK), Eurasia’s subsidiary, and Uralmetmash (formerly Techstroy) have signed a pact that will see the latter carry out mining of platinum group metals and gold at West Kytlim.
Mining at West Kytlim is seasonal as the alluvial process relies heavily on running water. Work normally commences as the snow melts on site in late March or early April and proceeds until November.
The directors of Techstroy, the contractor employed at the West Kytlim mine for the 2018 season which achieved production well in excess of target (a total of 165 kg raw platinum against a targeted 100 kg), registered a new company, Uralmetmash, as a special purpose vehicle to focus on the West Kytlim.
Eurasia said the roles and responsibilities of each of the parties shall remain largely as before, with Uralmetmash responsible for pit development, mining, ore trucking, washing and disintegration, and KK responsible for concentrate upgrade, shipment of mine product and distribution of metal sales revenues.
The London-listed mining company said Uralmetmash intended to move on site immediately to prepare for mining, to include stripping of overburden and stockpiling of ore in preparation for washing, which can commence once the seasonal thaw is underway. The thaw can be expected sometime in April 2019.
The work will continue initially at the Kluchiki area, where work ended on schedule in November.
As part of the deal with Uralmetmash, the platinum revenues will be split on a 65%/35% basis, in favour of the contractor.
In the meantime, the refinery contract between KK and the Urals precious metal refinery has also been renegotiated to include an extra percent payment on the LME platinum prices (now at 98% LME, from 97% in 2018).
Eurasia Mining Executive Chairman, Christian Schaffalitzky, said: “We are pleased to be working again with the team that proved so effective during 2018. They were a very efficient operator last year, with a zero accident record, and financially motivated to develop the asset in a sensible manner.
“Furthermore, we are looking at ways to improve metal recoveries, based on the measured efficiency of the existing process flowsheet. We look forward to updating shareholders on progress and also our longer term development strategy for the West Kytlim reserves and resources before the season commences.”
Eurasia and KK personnel continue to work on an enlarged exploration programme for West Kytlim, to include the recently approved Flanks exploration licence and ensure adequate reserves are available for future mining seasons.
Work on analysis of the previous mining season’s performance has commenced and a sampling programme has been outlined for the tailings of the 2018 season. This information will be inputted to proposed modifications to the current circuit, with the possible addition of a jig to recover finer raw platinum fractions. The addition of a hopper to better control the loading of gravels to the front of the circuit, and achieve a more constant flow of material into the trommel, is also expected to improve recoveries during the 2019 season.