The Russian government said on Thursday that it had cleared Canada`s
Barrick Gold to increase its stake in the Fedorova Tundra deposit in
Russia`s Murmansk Region to 79 percent from 50 percent currently, a
statement released by Barrick in Dar es Salaam yesterday said.
The Russian move comes at a time when the Norwegian government has
sold out all its shares following a strong pressure from Norwegian
human rights and environmental groups.
Barrick Gold, the world`s largest gold miner, has a joint venture
with Russian exploration company Pana that holds the license to develop
the platinum group metals (PGM) deposit.
In December, the joint venture, called Fedorovo Resources,
confirmed the reserves of the deposit with the State Reserves
Committee. The exact amount of the deposit’s reserves has not been
According to preliminary data, the deposit’s reserves amount to
about 100,000 tonnes of ore with 0.35 grammes of platinum per tonne,
1.4 grammes of palladium per tonne, and 0.09 grams of gold per tonne.
The ore at the deposit also contains 0.078 percent nickel and 0.126 percent copper.
According to earlier reports, Barrick planned to launch production
of PGMs at the deposit in 2012 and invest US $770 million along with
The companies planned to build two open pit mines at the deposit
and a mill with production capacity of 150,000 tonnes of concentrate
with a nickel and copper content of about 6.7 percent as well as 98
grammes of PGMs per tonne.
Barrick earlier said that starting in 2010, it expected to mine
150,000 tonnes of concentrate per year for 13 years at two mines, at
the Western Fedorova and Eastern Fedorova ore bodies.
The concentrate is expected to contain 6.7 percent nickel and copper and 98 grammes of platinum group metals per tonne.
The company reckons the potential customer for the concentrate
would be MMC Norilsk Nickel (RTS: GMKN), which would process the
concentrate at its Severonikel plant.