Veduga was first discovered in 1977 and was extensively explored between 1988 and 1996, which resulted in the estimation of the forecast resources according to the Russian State Reserves Commission (GKZ). In 1998, exploration campaign was continued with C2 level gold reserves approved by GKZ in 2002.
In 2006, Polymetal acquired 50% stake in the project from Anglogold Ashanti. In 2012, mining of oxide ore started. In the same year, the rest of Anglogold Ashanti’s stake was bought out. In 2014, initial NI-compliant Ore Reserves and Mineral Resources estimate was prepared by Snowden. In 2016, mining of sulfide ore started. In 2018, Polymetal increased its share in Veduga to 74.3%. In 2019, JORC-compliant reserves increased from 1.3 Moz of gold to 2.8 Moz. In 2020, VTB Bank, one of the Russia’s largest banks, invested US$ 71 million in exchange for a 40.6% stake in Veduga. Polymetal retains 59.4% ownership and a call option to acquire VTB’s stake in the future.
The Veduga deposit is a gold-sulphide mineralised formation and belongs to the pyrite-arsenopyrite-antimonite mineral type. Mineralisation is represented by two contiguous sub-vertical ore bodies with an average true width of 20 and 35 m. Thickness of the ore bodies varies from 5 to 70 meters. Down dip, the mineralized bodies have been traced for 150-980 m and are currently open at depth.
Veduga ore is single refractory. Gold is closely associated with sulphides in the form of finely dispersed inclusions which determines the need for fine primary grinding of the ore prior to froth flotation.
The concentrator with a capacity of 2.0 Mtpa incorporates crushing, grinding, primary flotation and secondary flotation followed by carbon-in-pulp cyanidation of secondary (free-milling pyrite) concentrate. Primary (refractory) concentrates will be thickened, filtered, dried and bagged for off-site processing at Amursk POX-2 and off-take facilities. Loaded carbon from pyrite concentrate cyanidation will be transported to Amursk POX-2 for carbon stripping and dore production. Tails will be thickened, filtered, and dry stacked in tailings storage facility. Part of tailings will be used for backfill at the underground mine. Gold recovery to concentrate is expected to average 85%, with a mass pull ratio of 8%. Average concentrate gold grade expected at 43 g/t is expected. An additional 96.5% will be recovered to dore.