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Who will win the race for Siberian gold?

By The Siberian Times reporter
10 September 2012

An auction for Russia's largest untapped gold deposit is to be announced soon, says First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.

Analysts say Sukhoi Log could produce up to 60 tonnes of gold from 32 million tonnes of ore per year and have a mine life of up to 40 years

'We have plans to sell some very interesting gold mining licenses and one of them soon. You'll recognise it as a lot has been written about it - it's Sukhoi Log,' he said at the APEC summit in Vladivostok. 

Experts say that the Irkutsk region gold reserves will require an immediate $2.5 billion of investment, which will not start to yield returns for eight years.

Because it is a 'strategic deposit', on present rules it cannot be licensed to a foreign company. Is this about to change? It is far from clear.

It was reported that amendments developed by the Natural Resources Ministry raising the threshold of gold reserves for inclusion in the list of strategic deposits from 50 tonnes to 250 tonnes, will be considered at a government meeting. 

'I think that our colleagues will support us - at least everyone is in favour of it right now,' he was quoted saying by Interfax.  'After consideration by the government, we will introduce it to the State Duma in the fall.'

Analysts say Sukhoi Log could produce up to 60 tonnes of gold from 32 million tonnes of ore per year and have a mine life of up to 40 years. 

Vedomosti newspaper this week reported the deposit - with estimated gold reserves of 2,000 and 3,000 tonnes in addition to a lesser quantity of silver  - will be auctioned in the near future.

The terms of the auction would be announced 'shortly'.

There have been earlier hopes that Sukhoi Log (meaning Dry Ravine in English) was coming to market but these were then dashed. 

Anyone taking on the project will face formidable obstacles to secure the potentially lucrative returns it offers.

Its ore has low gold concentration and needs to be enriched. It is inaccessible by road and has no independent or outside supply of the water required for processing.

Vedomosti reported that the Irkutsk region suffers from regular electricity problems that would further need to be addressed by the perspective developer.

Representatives of 21 countries and 175 companies are taking part in the Non Ferrous Metals 2012 International Congress in Krasnoyarsk this week.

Comments (1)

pity its only for sale for inside Russia; but also pity that there is nothing much said about the quality of Russian gold
gold lover, Ten., US
12/09/2012 12:40
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