Vladimir Potanin implements greenfield project in Transbaikalia

Vladimir Potanin implements greenfield project in Transbaikalia

May 16, 2022

The average salary at the Bystra plant, as Nornickel calls Bystrinsky MRP – 120 000 rubles - is almost two and a half times higher than the average salary in the Trans-Baikal region.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Nornickel began developing the Bystrinskoye field in the mid-2000s, having bought a license for 701 million rubles. It was discovered back in the 19th century, and in the middle of the last century it was recognized as unpromising. But exploration has shown that the deposit is not 31 thousand tons of copper, as expected, but 2.3 million. In addition, there are 295 tons of gold and 73.5 tons of iron. In 2014, the construction of the Bystrinsky MRP began at a cost of 90 billion rubles. Forbes writes about how the company works now.

Bystra is one of the largest greenfield projects in the industry and was built in record time in difficult terrain. The first 1 500 tons of copper concentrate were shipped from Bystra in 44 wagons in the spring of 2018 to the village of Gazimursky Zavod, which is located 100 kilometers from the border with China. And in 2020, the mining and processing complex reached its design capacity.

Since the plant is remote from the main assets of Nornickel in Taimyr and the Kola peninsula, in 2021, the Nornickel shareholders tentatively agreed to spin off Bystrinsky MRP into an independent business (spin-off).

Based on the results of the spin-off, Vladimir Potanin, taking into account Interros’ stake in Bystra, may become the owner of a controlling stake of 54 percent. Nornickel’s second largest shareholder, UC Rusal, is going to get 14 percent. But the spin-off is being postponed, as far as UC Rusal wants to discuss the economic feasibility of the deal.

How Bystrinsky MRP works

Ore at the plant, whose area is 4400 hectares, is mined by 75 heavy machines in an open way. Mining is carried out at two quarries – Verhne-Ildikansky and Bystrinsky-2. As production declines, two more will be commissioned by 2030 – Copper Teapot and Yuzhno-Rodstvenny.

After grinding, the ore is classified. Small particles are sent for flotation, large particles are crushed again, then back to classification or gold extraction. The key market for the company is China. Iron ore and copper concentrate are shipped there, while gold concentrate is sent to Taimyr, to Nornickel’s Polar Division, for further processing.

At the end of 2021, the Bystrinsky MRP’s revenue increased by 37 percent, to 99.1 billion rubles, which is 7.5 percent of the entire Nornickel total revenue.

In 2022, Nornickel plans to produce 64 000–68 000 tons of copper in concentrate, more than 7 tons of gold and up to 1.7 million tons of iron ore concentrate at Bystrinsky MRP. The enterprise’s payback period is seven years. The reserves are estimated to last for 40 years.

Until 2026, Nornickel plans to invest 2.4 billion rubles annually in social projects in Transbaikalia. As a reminder, the Nornickel team was awarded state awards for the Bystrinsky MRP construction.

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Text: Angelica Stepanova, Photo: Alexey Ivanov

May 16, 2022

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