Gold Digger: This large Russian gold mine will have its own nuclear power plant
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The +9Moz, ~350,000ozpa ‘Kyuchus’ field will be one of Russia’s biggest gold mining projects.
Kyuchus was first discovered in 1963, but its isolation in the harsh Arctic climate of the Yakutia region has, so far, stymied numerous development attempts.
Kyuchus was recently sold for the bargain price of $145m to miner Seligdar PJSC by the Russian Ministry of Natural Resources with one main caveat — development must include the building of a nuclear power station.
The field is in an area without existing infrastructure – including electricity — and so a small-scale nuclear power station would also provide energy to the surrounding territories.
The power plant is to have a production capacity of at least 35MW and be ready for operations by 2028.
“The Kyuchus deposit is a rather complex technical object, but very significant for Yakutia. I am sure that with our partners we will be able to find a technical solution, build the enterprise that will become one of the brands of the Republic,” said Konstantin Beirit, President of Seligdar PJSC.
It will not be the only Russian mine to be fuelled by ‘green’ nuclear energy.
Nuclear power company Rosatom intends to build five floating plants like the one pictured above to serve several mining projects on the east Arctic coast.
The research carried out during the first public ecological expedition to our floating NPP confirmed its safety for the environment. The environmentalists took measurements both at the power plant and in its host town of Pevek. Enjoy the photos! pic.twitter.com/aaGSclFgjd
— Rosatom Global (@RosatomGlobal) October 13, 2021
Globally, nuclear power could be an attractive choice as the global mining sector looks to reduce its emissions.
Earlier this year, a Republican lawmaker floated the idea of using small, new generation nuclear power plants to fuel several of Minnesota’s iron ore mines.
“We know we’re moving away from coal,” Sen. Jason Rarick told the News Tribune.
“If we want to move away from natural gas, too, right now nuclear seems to be the one option that’s carbon-free and still consistent and reliable.”
Gold is up almost 2% for the week – from ~$US1,760/oz to $US1795/oz – to its highest point since mid-September.
The price continues to bounce between the same narrow $US1,750-$US1,850 range it has been caught in since mid-June.
In Aussie dollar terms the price has been even more consistent, averaging in the low-to-mid $2,400s an ounce since mid-May.
Here’s how ASX-listed gold & silver stocks are performing:
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It was a great week for ASX gold stocks, with just 48 on our list of 260 posting a loss. 24 companies gained 20% or more.
The explorer just hit 132m at 10.1g/t gold at the ‘RPM’ deposit, part of the 4.7moz Estelle project in Alaska.
Outrageous numbers. That must be up there as one of the gold hits of the year.
“The RPM deposit is shaping up to be a very large high grade IRGS style gold system that remains wide open, with results from three drill holes to be reported in the coming weeks,” CEO Christopher Gerteisen says.
“RPM is now confirmed to be the second significant project development area at Estelle and will be a key component of our ongoing resource development work on our path towards production at the Estelle Gold Project.”
A RPM Maiden Resource is due in Q4 2021.
The 4.7moz Korbel deposit and RPM represent only 2 of 15 known prospects with the wider Estelle Gold Project claims, NVA says.
Previously known as Stone Resources, Brightstar is focussed on its namesake 445,000-ounce gold project in the Laverton region of WA.
It also owns a mothballed 330,000 tonne-per-annum processing plant, which sets it apart from most explorers on the ASX. This could potentially shorten any timeline to production.
The focus right now is growing resources at the 237,000oz ‘Cork Tree Well’ deposit, where drilling assays are due in mid-late October.
More than 26 holes for ~4,000m have been completed so far, the company says.
Late last week it topped up its coffers with an oversubscribed $2.3 million placement.
The popular goldie fell 25% this week after getting ahead of a “pending media report questioning the legality for the company to establish mining operations” at the flagship Bankan project in Guinea.
PDI acknowledged that Bankan was in the ‘Outer Buffer Zone’ of the Upper Niger National Park.
While exploration permits are all in good standing, PDI mentions that “the Upper Niger National Park is a protected area where the mining of mineral deposits is not permitted”.
There are plenty of precedents for mining permits to be granted in the national park, but the news still scared some investors.
However, Sprott says everything has been blown out of proportion and maintains a buy rating/ 42c price target for the stock.