Key Facts 

Ownership

100%

Operating Company

Rudnik Valunisty LLC

Location

Chukotka region, Russia

Start Date

1999 (HGM 2019)

Life of Mine

2028

Mining

Open pit

Processing

Cyanide scheme with sorption to coal

Ore Processing Capacity

250 ktpa

Total Cash Costs (2017)

US$ 887/oz

Overview

The Valunisty mine and the surrounding Kanchalano-Amguemskaya Square (KAS) licence are located in the Anadyrsky district of the Russian Far East region of Chukotka.  The licences contain three gold-silver deposits – Valunisty, Gorny and Zhilny – as well as several prospective satellite deposits. Operations began in 1999 and the enterprise was acquired by Highland Gold in a transaction that closed at the end of 2018.

Valunisty is an open pit mining operation comprised of two mineralisation zones: Glavnaya and Novaya. The mine's infrastructure includes a processing plant, a camp for 350 people, warehouses, and other facilities for on-site mining and processing operations. The processing plant is connected by 110 kV power line to a power plant in the town of Egvekinot. An unsealed 220 km summer road and a 290 km winter road connect Valunisty with the sea port at Egvekinot.

The Gorny deposit, located on the KAS licence, is a distance of 18 km from Valunisty. Ore from Gorny is hauled to Valunisty for processing.

Operations

All mining activity is currently via open pit mining, using traditional drill, blast (ANFO), load and haul hard rock mining machinery. The current Life of Mine (LoM) schedule extends to the year 2028.

An underground mine is planned for the Novaya ore body, below the existing open pit. Underground operations at Novaya are scheduled to begin in 2020 and extend until 2027. The proposed underground mining method is shrinkage stoping, which involves the blasting of ore within stoping blocks via a bottom-up sequence, with drill and blast activities working atop the broken ore (benches).

All ore is currently processed at the Valunisty processing plant to extract doré (gold-silver) using a cyanide scheme with sorption to coal. A total of 231k tonnes was processed in 2017 versus an annual capacity of 250k tonnes. Beginning in 2018 and continuing through 2019, engineering surveys and design work are being carried out for the reconstruction of the processing plant to upgrade annual throughput to 350k tonnes in 2020.

Geology

Mineralisation is associated with metasomatites which host quartz and adular-quartz veins with silver-gold mineralisation (at the Valunisty deposit, and at the KAS mineral occurrences Gorny, Ognennoe, Zhilny, Shakh, and Osennee). The distribution of metasomatites and mineralised bodies is controlled by the Kanchalan fault zone.