Technologically advanced mine
Suzdal is one of the most technologically advanced gold mining operations in the world and a long-time pioneer in the implementation of the best and most innovative operating methodologies.
Suzdal’s bio-oxidation (BIOX) processing circuit was the first of this type to be launched in Eurasia. In 2013, Suzdal implemented Outotec Aster technology to treat and reuse process water. In 2016, Suzdal became the second mine worldwide to launch an innovative Outotec HiTeCC (High Temperature Caustic Conditioning) process to recover preg-robbed gold from both historical and CIL current tailings. In 2020, the mine implemented Deswik, a state-of-the-art IT platform for highly efficient mine planning.
Suzdal is an underground mine located in eastern Kazakhstan, approximately 50 km southwest of Semey city (Semipalatinsk) which has a railway station and an airport. The Suzdal mine is owned 100% by JSC FIC Alel, which is in turn held 100% by Nordgold.
The mine supports more than 1000 jobs.
Suzdal has highly efficient geological modelling and mining planning based on the modern technologies implemented within Nordgold’s global Technical Excellence (TEX) programme aimed at improving processes, systems and employee skills to successfully align them with industry best practices throughout the entire value chain.
Suzdal underground mine comprises three main ore zones via four declines. Two shafts exist for emergency access only. Development mining is achieved using modern electro-hydraulic single and twin boom drill jumbos to drill blastholes, load-haul-dump loaders (“LHD”) to clean the blasted rock from each blasted advance, and articulated dump trucks (“ADT&”) to haul ore to surface or to underground voids to be used as backfill.
Stability of the workings is maintained by the installation of ground support (friction anchors, mesh sheets, shotcrete), leaving supporting pillars of unmined ore, permanently or for later extraction, and filling mined stopes with development waste as backfill when strategically required.
Mine ventilation is achieved using a number of vertical raises connecting the mine workings to surface, and the transport declines.
Mine dewatering is achieved with a main pumping station fitted with three multi-stage centrifugal pumps, one in service, one in reserve and one under repair.
Suzdal’s crushing circuit processes approximately 550,000 tonnes of gold bearing ore per year. It consists of three stages: a primary jaw crusher and secondary and tertiary cone crushers. The jaw crusher is in open circuit, and there are scalping screens ahead of each of the cone crushers, which otherwise operate in open circuit.
In 2020, Nordgold successfully automated the crushing circuit to improve the management and control of ore crushing, milling and sorting process despite the increase in ore hardness. The grinding circuit consists of three ball mills (380 kW each).
The flotation circuit consists of two roughing stages, scavenging and two stages of cleaning.
Suzdal uses Outotec’s BIOX® technology for pre-treatment of refractory concentrates ahead of conventional cyanide leaching for gold recovery. As the gold is encapsulated in sulfide minerals such as pyrite and arsenopyrite, the gold is prevented from being leached by cyanide. The BIOX process destroys sulfide minerals and exposes the gold for subsequent cyanidation, thereby increasing the achievable gold recovery.
Suzdal’s BIOX circuit commenced operation in 2005 with a plant capacity of 300 ktpa of ore. In 2010, the plant capacity was expanded to its current capacity of approximately 575 ktpa of ore.
Suzdal mine environmental management framework is ISO 14001 (International standard for Environmental Management Systems) certified.
The mine and the Nordgold corporate office review the mine’s compliance with legislation and corporate standards regularly.
Suzdal is delivering on an environmental action plan for 2020-2022 that includes activities on protection of water resources, air, land, and waste management. The reports on the plan’s implementation are submitted on a quarterly basis to the regulatory authority.
The mine has also a waste management programme for 2020-2022 and an environmental monitoring program (PEK) for 2020-2022, which includes operational monitoring, emissions monitoring and environmental impact monitoring on outer boundaries of a buffer zone around mine infrastructure (the sanitary protection zone). Annual waste reports and quarterly monitoring reports are submitted to the regulatory authority.
There is a one kilometre sanitary protection zone around the mine infrastructure and there are no residential buildings within 15 km of this infrastructure.
There are no historical monuments and protected areas in the vicinity of the mine.
The mine is on land under the administration of Semey city. The nearest settlement is Znamenka village, about 15 km west of the mine site. The livelihoods of people around the mining are based on mining and agriculture. The Suzdal mine is one of the major employers in Semey. Suzdal also regularly provides charity and material assistance to residents of local communities.