In the second quarter of 2019, Russian gold mining major Polyus has reported capital expenditures increasing to $154 million, from $99 million in the first quarter of 2019. This growth reflects higher capex spending across all business units. Capital expenditures at Natalka amounted to $48 million in the second quarter compared to $23 million in the previous period, reflecting progress on construction works at the Natalka Mill’s auxiliary and infrastructure facilities. This includes dam filling at a new tailings facility, the construction of water intake wells and the installation of power supply systems at the fuel storage facility. The company also completed the installation of tanks at the fuel storage facility during the reporting period.
Polyus says it is continuing to work on achieving a gradual increase in recovery at Natalka. In the reporting period, Polyus introduced two additional concentrators at the first stage of gravity separation and commissioned a CIC column and the fourth stage of gravity concentration. Polyus plans to further debottleneck the first stage of gravity concentration by introducing a further two Knelson concentrators. The company has also approved the roll out of flash flotation technology at the Natalka mill and anticipates the commissioning of flash flotation units in 2020.
At Olimpiada, capital expenditures amounted to $35 million in the second quarter compared to $25 million in the first quarter. The company continued its expansion of throughput at the mills to 13.4 mtpa as well as the upgrade of its mining fleet. In the reporting period, grade control drilling at the Vostochny pit increased significantly compared to the previous quarter.
At Blagodatnoye, capital expenditures amounted to $12 million in the second quarter compared to $6 million in the first quarter. The company is proceeding with the mill expansion project to reach throughput capacity of 9 Mt per annum. This includes the replacement of pumps at hydrocyclones, upgrade of the milling circuit as well as the engineering and design of tailings storage facility.
At Verninskoye, capital expenditures amounted to $15 million in the second quarter compared to $11 million in the first quarter due to the procurement of a TZ WK20 shovel from China’s TYHI in Taiyuan and higher maintenance capital expenditures in the reporting period.
At Kuranakh, capital expenditures increased to $10 million in the second quarter compared to $4 million in the first quarter. Polyus completed the construction of an additional ore feeder and commissioned a thickener during the reporting period. Further mill throughput expansion to 5.8 Mt/y is expected to be completed in 2020.