Key Facts

Ownership 99%
Operating Company Novo-Shirokinsky Rudnik OJSC
Location Zabaikalsky region, Russia
Start Date 2009
Life of Mine 2029
Mining Underground 
Processing Gravity-flotation circuit 
Ore Processing Capacity 0.8 mtpa
Total Cash Costs (2017) US$ 291 /oz *

Overview

Novoshirokinksoye (Novo) is a polymetallic deposit containing commercial quantities of gold, silver, lead, and zinc, located in the Zabaikalsky region, about 350 km west of the city of Chita. The deposit was discovered in 1951 and extensively explored between 1956 and 1962. Following two failed attempts to develop the project in the 1970s and 1990s, Highland Gold acquired Novo in 2002.

Prior to the acquisition, Novo had been extensively researched and developed to produce primarily zinc and lead, with gold and silver as by-products. Highland commissioned a feasibility study in 2003 with a view toward prioritising gold production. Following an economic review of the project, the Company determined that Novo would be viable if a solution could be found to sell market gold-rich lead flotation concentrates, and decided to search for a partner to develop the site.

In December 2006, Highland partnered with KazZinc, which acquired a 48.3% interest in Novo (half of Highland’s 96.6% economic interest). After helping to bring the project online, KazZinc sold its stake back to Highland in December 2011.

Operations

Novoshirokinskoye was designed as a longhole open stoping operation. The mine has been developed down to the first 5 levels (levels are at 50 m vertical intervals) and gradually ramped up from a capacity of 450 ktpa to 800 ktpa.

The company is currently working on a project to further extend and expand the mine and upgrade the processing plant, thereby increasing ore output to 1.3 mtpa by the end of 2019.

Novo produces lead and zinc concentrates which are sent for further processing in Kazakhstan and China. The Company accounts for Novo production on a gold equivalent based on current prices, without credits for byproducts.

Productions Statistics

Novo Unit 2016 2017
Underground development m 11,251 11,379
Ore mined t 761,114 858,106
Average grade mined * g/t 5.61 5.52
Ore processed t 757,971 825,819
Average grade processed * g/t 5.62 5.61
Recovery rate * % 85.9 85.0
Gold produced (100%)* oz 117,577 126,606

*Approximate Au equivalent (metal content in the mined ore = Au 3.57 g/t, Ag 59.04 g/t, Pb 1.71%, Zn 0.59%)

Geology

The Novoshirokinskoye deposit occurs in a 20 m to 300 m thick fault zone hosted by a sequence of Upper Jurassic volcanic and sedimentary rocks. The mineralisation is confined to the central portion of the zone with a strike length of up to 2.2 km and to a maximum depth of 700 m. 17 en-echelon ore bodies have been delineated of which the "Main", "V" and "VII" ore bodies are the largest, constituting 91%of the resource.

The ore is mainly lead/zinc sulphide mineralisation, with associated gold and silver in host rocks predominantly containing quartz, carbonates and sericites. Additional accessory minerals are pyrite, chalcopyrite and various iron and copper oxides. It is noted that the mineralisation is fairly homogenous through the deposit, with little variation being displayed.

* Excludes outside processing costs (2016: US$ 168/oz)