The first gold of Ishtamberdy: gold ore concentrate will no longer be exported to China

At the gold ore deposit Ishtamberdy in Jalal-Abad oblast, a modernized concentrator was put into operation and the first alloy Dore was produced. The launch of the enterprise in Kyrgyzstan has been waiting for more than 5 years. The last 3 years, the developer simply exported gold concentrate for processing to China.

Now the entire gold production cycle is working at the deposit, just like at Kumtor. Next year it is planned to produce 670 kg of gold, the National Bank will buy it. How the factory was launched - in the material of Akchabar.

The Ishtamberdy, with 79.5 tonne gold reserves, belongs to the category of large deposits - in the KR are mines with precious metal reserves of over 70 tons. The deposit is being developed by the Chinese gold mining company Full Gold Mining.

Full Gold Mining is founded by the Chinese state corporation Linbao Gold, which signed on January 16, 2008 a cooperation agreement with the China Development Bank, the China Road and Bridge Corporation, the investment company Lin Xi and the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Kyrgyz Republic and the State Agency on Geology and Mineral Resources.

According to this agreement, Lingbao gold by the forces of China Road and Bridge Corporation and with the money of the Development Bank of China during 2008-2011 rehabilitates the section of the Osh-Sarytash-Irkeshtam highway (from 190 to 240 km) and gets to develop the Ishtamberdy field.

  • This project was called Resources in return for investment. It was approved by the Government of Kyrgyzstan on January 15, 2008. In the same year, under the initiative of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the project was identified as one of the priority in the field of transport communication, as it was aimed at increasing the transit potential of the SCO space.

Lingbao gold terms of the agreement fulfilled and upon completion of rehabilitation of the road in 2011, its "daughter" Full Gold Mining issued a license to develop the Ishtamberdy field. However, the start of gold production of the company was fated only after 5 years - since December 24 this year.

Unsuccessful starts

The launch of the Ishtamberdy concentrator was planned back in 2011. Then delivery of the object was postponed to April 2012. As a result, the combine earned a month later, in May of the same year, and for a short while.

 Already in December 2012, the extraction of precious metal and its processing were suspended at the request of the State Inspectorate for Technical and Environmental Safety, this also entailed the suspension of the license issued by the State Geological Agency.

The plant was stopped for 2 important reasons.

First, Full Gold Mining could not cope with the consequences of the diversion of chemicals that occurred in May at the start of the factory. Another December audit showed that the company did not eliminate numerous environmental violations and the State Ecological Inspectorate decided to prohibit the enterprise from mining and blasting operations at the concentrating mill and tailing pond. Companies were only allowed to work to eliminate violations.

In addition, the developer was fined 2.6 million soms for storing 27 thousand tons of ore without a project and in an unidentified place.

 Secondly, the deposit produced 1.5 times less gold than was projected. As reported in the State inspection, according to the project, the percentage of gold extraction from the ore should have been 85.8%. In fact, for the first six months of operation, Full Gold Mining recovered only 52.9%. The remaining 32.9% of gold went along with the processed ore to the tailing dump.

Initially, it was assumed that the company will be able to correct the violations for 3 months and in March will start working again. But Full Gold Mining was asked to extend the suspension of the license for another 2 months - until May 2013.

This period was also not enough and the developer fully complied with the instructions of the State Ecological Inspectorate only in late September 2013. After that, the State Geological Agency resumed the license, and the Ministry of Economy issued a permit to export the gold concentrate to China, because the problem with incomplete gold extraction at the Full Gold Mining Processing Plant could not be rectified.

By this time, the company also began to experience difficulties with working capital, as investors lost a lot of time and money during the downtime. 

2014-2016: export of concentrate and modernization of the factory

Within the next 3 years, Full Gold Mining exported the concentrate to China and modernized the concentrator, paying a fee for retaining the license to process gold.

The technology of production had to be changed completely: the company withdrew from the use of cyanide, brought new safe reagents and conducted industrial tests of the factory's work on the new technology. 

  • All this time the launch date of the enterprise was repeatedly postponed. The upgraded factory was planned to be put into operation in September and November 2015, April and June of this year. Launched on December 24, 2016.  

The most important thing achieved: they left the export of concentrate outside the country and switched to a full cycle of gold production. Just as in Kumtor, Dore alloy was produced at Kumtor, which will be supplied to the refinery in Kara-Balta for complete processing.

Final launch

Now industrial tests show that gold extraction reached 85%, said the chief engineer of the company Suleyman Koshaliev.   

Received on December 24, the first alloy Dore at least 70% of gold. The silver content is from 10% to 29%, there are also secondary impurities - iron, zinc, copper, nickel and other elements, but not more than 10% of the total composition of Dore.

Dore's bars will be processed at Kyrgyz's only refining refinery in Kara-Balta. It is there that gold bars of the highest category (999.9 samples) are obtained. Finished gold bars will be repurchased by the National Bank.

In 2017 it is planned to produce 670.18 kg of gold. At the same time, in winter, the work of the factory will be suspended. This time it will be due to a shortage of electricity during the autumn-winter heating season.

INTERESTING EVENTS

Strike. In February 2012, employees of Full Gold Mining striked and demanded to raise their salaries by 50%. Workers-drivers and employees of the laboratory took part in the strike. After the negotiations, the company's management and employees agreed to raise salaries by 30%. At that time the average salary of the company's drivers was 10 thousand soms. After the increase, it reached 13 thousand soms. The total fund of labor payment increased by 20 million soms.

Tax avoidance. In 2014, the developer of the field was accused of evading taxes in a particularly large amount. This fact was revealed by the State Service for Combating Economic Crimes (GSEPS) and the State Tax Service. The damage to the budget "as a result of the criminal actions of Full Gold Mining" was estimated at $ 1.16 million. The criminal investigation department of the State Security Service of the Federal Security Service filed a criminal case. However, even at the investigation stage, the developer pleaded guilty and repaid the damage in full.

Source: https://www.akchabar.kg/article/business/zoloto-ishtamberdy/.