Russian mining company Intergeo plans to accelerate development of Ak-Sug copper project

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By Eugene Gerden

The Russian mining company Intergeo, which is owned by a well-known Russian businessman Mikhail Prokhorov’s, plans to accelerate the development of Ak-Sug, one of the largest copper fields in Russia and the world in terms of reserves in the Tuva Republic.

The actual implementation of the project is carried out by Intergeo’s  Golevskaya GRK subsidiary, which holds the license for the development of the project, which is expected to exceed RUB 140 billion (US$1.6 billion) in investment. Most of the funds of the project are expected to be allocated from Prokhorov’s own sources, while the remaining will be provided by investors from China and Saudi Arabia.

Under the terms of the project, Intergeo plans to build the Ak-Sug Mining and Processing Plant (GOK) in Tuva Republic, the Russian region in Southern Siberia on the border with Mongolia for ore processing with a capacity of 24 million tons.

Mining at the Ak-Sug deposit will be carried out using open pit mining and is expected to have a mine life of 27 years.

According to the Intergeo, the start of ore mining at the Ak-Sug deposit is planned for 2024, the start of the processing plant operation and production is scheduled for 2026. Annual production volume is expected at 500,000 tons of copper-molybdenum concentrate. In February 2024, Interfax reported that Golevskaya GRK had placed a tender to find a contractor to carry out drilling and blasting operations at Ak-Sug in the summer of this year.

So far, Intergeo has already received support from the Russian federal government and Tuva authorities for the project, that was primarily in the form of compensations for the building of infrastructure, as well as various tax and customs exemptions.  As stated in the report of Golevskaya GRK, the company received subsidies from the budget in the amount of 14 billion rubles specifically for the connection to power lines.

Still, despite this implementation of the project being carried out has been delayed, the Russian mining and subsoil regulator Rosnedra has already warned Intergeo about the possibility of revocation of the license in case of further delays in the project development.

In the meantime, Ak-Sug is not the only copper mining project currently being implemented by Intergeo.

The company has also planned to build another mining and processing complex, that will be known as Kingashsky GOK and will be built on the basis of Kingashskoye copper and nickel field in the Krasnoyarsk Territory with a capacity of 20 million tons.

Ore mining at the Kingashskoye deposit is also planned to begin sometime in 2024, and production for 2028. The annual production volume is more than 600,000 tons of copper-nickel concentrate. It is expected, successful implementation of both projects will make Intergeo the largest player in the Russian copper mining sector. At the same time the development of Kingashskoye deposit along with Verkhnekingashskoye field will also allow Intergeo to become one of the leading nickel producers in Russia.

Most of the future output from these deposits are expected to be exported to China and other Asian nations via Transsib, Russia’s largest and one of the world’s largest rail lines.

Implementation of these projects is part of the complex investment project “Yenisei Siberia” with the overall volume of investments of 250 billion rubles.

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