(1) As of 31 December 2018, Mineral Resources shown as Measured & Indicated, inclusive of Ore Reserves
At a glance statistics
Pioneer is considered by management to be one of the largest gold mines in Russia based on processing capacity. In 2018, Pioneer accounted for 32 per cent. of the Group’s total gold production (23% in the first six months of 2019).
Three pits are currently in operation and the area is considered prospective and is actively being explored. Underground mine development commenced in Q3 2016 in the North East Bakhmut area using sublevel open stoping with waste backfill.
At 31 December 2018, Pioneer contained an estimated 4.61Moz of gold in Measured & Indicated Mineral Resources, of which approximately 2.84Moz were contained in Proved and Probable Ore Reserves.
Pioneer is a bulk tonnage mine with multiple open pits and an underground mine. The Pioneer orebodies include both non-refractory and refractory ore. Non-refractory ore is processed at the 6.7Mtpa RIP plant, which operates throughout the year.
The new POX Hub has enabled gold production from the refractory ore and a new 3.6Mtpa flotation facility is currently under construction which is expected to be commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2020. Once operational, 3.6Mtpa of milling capacity will be diverted away from the 6.7Mtpa RIP plant.
(1) Discrepancies between gold recovered and gold produced is a function of gold recovery from the processing circuit
Gold mineralisation at Pioneer was formed near a contact between a granitoid massif and Jurassic country rocks, as a result of hydrothermal processes during the late Mesozoic Period.
Pioneer contains ﬁve licences covering multiple orebodies, most of which are steep dipping, and remain open in a down dip direction. Pioneer orebodies comprise of high-grade shoots and lower grade halo mineralisation. The high-grade shoots are generally 1 to 8 metres in thickness with low-grade halos up to 200m thick with a strike length of up to 2km. Many of the high-grade pay shoots are open at depth, providing potential for further increase in resources.
Exploration potential exists for the discovery of further signiﬁcant open pit resources particularly south and southwest from Pioneer.
The mine was acquired as a greenfield site in 2001 and was explored, developed and constructed using in-house expertise rather than external contractors. Since commissioning in 2008, the Pioneer RIP plant has been expanded in phases to reach its current processing capacity of approximately 6.7Mtpa. Underground mining operations began in 2017.
(1) An expansion (3rd line) at Pioneer is conceptual only at this stage