by Arthur Yernjakyan
GPM Gold, member of GeoProMining Group, will be able to increase the gold output to 120-130 thsd oz in 2015 (versus 50 thsd oz in 2013), President of GeoProMining Roman Khudoliy told journalists at the official ceremony of commissioning of the new technological block "Albion" at the Ararat gold recovery plant. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan also attended the ceremony. Khudoliy said that the gold output will be increased due to the "Albion" technology.
Khudoliy said that the foundation of the plant was laid in 2011. He pointed out that the "Albion" technology was first applied in the world in 2005. Before that the technology was classified by Xstrata. "I state that the commissioning of the plant will allow us to triple the gold output from the current 50 thsd oz (some 1.5 tons) to 5 tons. This is the most advanced technology and the commissioning of the plant is a very serious event in the mining industry", Khudoliy said.
Albion process plant developed by Australian company Xstrata Technology and Core Process Engineering allow significantly increasing the extraction of metal from refractory sulphide ores Zod mine is rich in. The technology combines ultrafine grinding and oxidative leaching under atmospheric leaching. By Albion technology concentrate, containing base metals and precious metals, is processed by oxidation of sulphide minerals and recovery of metals for further extraction in conventional manner, the press service of GPM group in Armenia reports.
Currently there are three production sites where Albion process plant is being applied. On two of them located in Spain and Germany zinc sulphide concentrate is processed and another site processes refractory gold-silver concentrate. It is located in Dominican Republic. So, Ararat plant will become the world's second experience in the application of Albion process plant technology for gold ores processing. Earlier Khudoliy said that according to the international reports, the gold reserves at the Zod mine totaled 5 mln oz.
Khudoliy also pointed out that a total of 140 mln USD has been invested in "Albion". The project was launched back in 2009. "Big groundwork was done. A small plant with the "Albion" technology was commissioned in Australia to see how the technology works", he said. Equipment from 52 countries was used in construction. The plant was built by 27 companies, including 22 Armenian ones. When asked about the return on investment, Khudoliy said that it will depend on the world prices of gold. If the current prices are retained, the payback period will last for about 5 years, he added.
GeoProMining, founded in 2001, is an international private company with a diversified resource base metals. GeoProMining produces gold as a "Dore" alloy as well as copper, molybdenum, antimony concentrates. GeoProMining plants are located in Russia and Armenia. In Armenia GeoProMining owns two enterprises - Agarak copper-molybdenum plant and GPM Gold company, which develops Zod gold deposit and controls Ararat gold recovery plant.