Key Facts

Ownership 100%
Operating Company Belaya Gora LLC
Location Khabarovsk region, Russia
Start Date 2014
Life of Mine 2023
Mining Open pit
Processing Gravity 
Ore Processing Capacity 1.8 mtpa
Total Cash Costs (2016) US$ 678/oz

Overview

In autumn 2005, Highland Gold acquired a 25 year licence to develop and mine the Belaya Gora gold deposit via public natural resource auction. The Belaya Gora licence area is located in the Khabarovsk region, 55 kilometres north of the town of Nikolaevsk-na-Amur and 66 kilometres south of Highland Gold’s MNV operation. The site is accessible year-round by a well maintained road that connects MNV to the town of Nikolaevsk-na-Amur and its port and airport facilities.

Exploration of the Belaya Gora deposit began in the early 1900s and led to a small scale milling operation through the 1930s and early 1940s. The deposit underwent additional exploration in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and was considered a prime candidate for the introduction of heap leaching technology to the Soviet Union. Exploration work included geophysical studies, trenching, a large amount of drilling and underground development on three horizons, as well as metallurgical testing. Highland Gold jointly with Barrick Gold initiated systematic exploration of the deposit with over 23,000 m of drilling and delineated two ore blocks, Stockwork and Pologaya, which are actively being mined.

In 2010 and 2012, Highland Gold acquired additional licences for the Belaya Gora flanks, covering a total area of 37 square kilometres including the initial Belaya Gora licence. Licence terms include exploration and development over a total licence period of 20 years.

In addition, the Company has a licence for the Blagodatnoye deposit, located about 30km to the southeast of Belaya Gora. Blagodatnoye is being targeted to add additional resources to the Belaya Gora operation, thereby extending the life of the project.

Belaya Gora-Blagodatnoye PFS Executive Summary

Operations

Highland Gold began selective mining of ore from Belaya Gora in autumn 2010, with processing initially taking place at the company’s MNV facilities. The years 2011-2013 were spent on design and build-out of a stand-alone processing plant with a capacity of 1.5 million tonnes of ore per year. It was the second development project the company brought on-stream after Novoshirokinskoye.

Commercial production at the Belaya Gora mill began in spring 2014 and reached nameplate capacity in the second half of that year. A state-of-the-art on-site assay laboratory opened in late 2014, and a second gravity stage with CIL and elution circuits were put into service in early 2015. These developments are designed to improve recovery rates to in excess of 80%.

Production Statistics

Belaya Gora Unit 2016 2017
Waste stripping t 12,336,292 2,935,533
Ore mined t 1,560,734 1,079,793
Average grade mined g/t 1.23 0.77
Ore processed t 1,643,146 1,696,810
Average grade processed g/t 1.21 1.11
Recovery rate % 71.4 72.5
Gold produced oz 45,909 43,166

Geology

Belaya Gora is a typical low-sulfidation type epithermal gold deposit situated within a regional-scale tectonic depression of the northern Sikhote Alin volcanic belt. Gold mineralisation is commonly hosted by a fault-bounded and pervasively clay-altered and silicified dacite stock which was emplaced into a sequence of andesitic basalts and tuffs. Traced to a depth of at least 400 m gold is essentially free and irregularly distributed and associated with disseminated quartzitic nests and veinlets forming a stockwork type pattern of mineralization.