Polymetal International PLC (LSE:POLY) said it produced the first gold and silver concentrate from the Nezhda mine in Siberia on October 16, two weeks ahead of schedule.
The concentrator has now entered a ramp-up period and is expected to reach its nameplate capacity and full design recovery by April 2022.
“The mine should ramp-up to full capacity and start generating free cash flows by Q2 2022,” said chief executive Vitaly Nesis.
The 2 million tonne per annum (Mtpa) open-pit mine and combined gravity/flotation concentrator were built in 38 months. Total project spending by the time of full ramp-up will be about US$370mln (GBP270mln), it said.
The FTSE-100 company plans to produce up to 30,000 gold equivalent ounces this year at Nezhda, with average production expected to increase to about 180,000 ounces per year in 2022-2024 at an estimated all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of US$850-900 an ounce.
Further production upside is linked to the opportunity of processing ore from the high-grade Prognoz silver deposit. In August, Polymetal said its board had approved the accelerated development of the open-pit mine at Prognoz, the largest undeveloped primary silver deposit in Russia.
READ: Polymetal lifts 2021 capital expenditure guidance by more than 20%