The company expects to start production at the field no later than January 2021, if possible even earlier, a Russian Platinum representative said.
It was planned to start production in Montenegro in 2018 (the initial project of "Russian Platinum" was supposed to be launched by the end of 2015). The timing has shifted due to a technical error Rosnedra - the coordinates of the license area and the mining allotment did not coincide, explained in the "Russian Platinum." After eliminating the inaccuracy, "Russian Platinum" appealed to Rosnedra with a new project, asking to update the deadlines.
A new project for the development of Montenegrin has not yet been reported, Interfax was told in Rosnedra.
If Rosnedra approves the technical project, the company will have 36 months to commission the GOK in Chernogorsk with a capacity of 9 million tons of ore. The processing plant will process 7 million tons of Chernogorsk ore (2 million tons will go to the warehouse) and 2-3 million tons of ore from the southern part of the Norilsk-1 deposit, as its ore is richer, the company explained.
Prospects for ore extraction in the southern part of Norilsk-1 beyond the 2-3 million level and the construction of the factory there are not yet clear. Originally, Russian Platinum planned to mine 6 million tonnes of ore at both fields and develop them in parallel, but later decided to develop Chernogorskoye first as a project in a higher stage of readiness.
As explained in Rosnedra, the southern part of the field "Norilsk-1" should be put into development no later than August 2023. Meanwhile, the subsoil user's report on geological exploration in this field has not yet been submitted to Rosnedra.
The license for Chernogorsk is valid in October 2026, in the southern part of Norilsk-1 - August 2033, the Rosnedra specified.
The volume of investments in the development of the Montenegrin deposit, according to Russian Platinum, is about $ 1.5 billion (of which about $ 230 million has already been invested, the company said a year ago). It is planned that VTB will co-finance the development, with which Russian Platinum concluded a memorandum of partnership in December 2016. Then the parties did not specify the amount of financing, but the source, familiar with the details, announced VTB's willingness to invest up to $ 400 million. Investments totaled in two deposits were estimated at $ 4 billion, the potential investor was Chinese Fosun.
Part of the agreement was the entry of VTB into the capital of OOO Chernogorskaya GRK, subsidiaries of Russian Platinum, which holds a license for Chernogorsk, with the possibility of increasing the share to 20%. While VTB purchased a 3% stake, a representative of Russian Platinum said. Meanwhile, according to the SPARK-Interfax system, 100% of Chernogorskaya GRK owns the companies of the Russian Platinum group (Cyprian Traim Holdings and OOO Quinto).
The timing of the signing of an agreement on financing the development of the Taimyr deposits with VTB is still unknown, a Russian Platinum representative said. More active is the preparation of an agreement on the gold project of the Russian Platinum Jeruy (Kyrgyzstan), whose investments are estimated at $ 600 million.
The license for the southern part of Norilsk-1 implies social obligations - the reconstruction of kindergartens in Norilsk, as well as the construction of a highway to Igarka, where Russian Platinum intended to equip the cargo terminal. For employees of the "Russian Platinum" should be built or purchased housing.
These measures are being postponed due to the delay in the development of deposits, explained the representative of "Russian Platinum". He noted that "it is meaningless to build housing in the Far North in advance, which will still be empty for a while." The company has not decided on where to reconstruct social facilities - in Norilsk or Krasnoyarsk. A representative of Russian Platinum stated that the company has no social and related obligations with regional administrations or Rosnedra.
Rosnedra confirmed that they currently do not have information on violations of the Russian subsoil use by the Russian Platinum (Chernogorskaya GRK), so the issue of a possible early termination of the license is not considered.
The three-year timeframe for Chernogorsk is not very realistic, says Nikolai Sosnovsky, director of metals and mining at Prosperity Capital Management. "Combines at Bystrinskoye and Natalka were built much longer: in 3 years it is possible to build a large mining facility beyond the Urals, but not in Taimyr, where imports are carried out seasonally, besides, if all is profound, contractors are selected, equipment is purchased. Especially, for "Russian Platinum" is the first such project, "- said Sosnovsky.
The best option would be to agree on the processing of part of the ore at the facilities of Norilsk Nickel (the assets of the so-called Southern cluster, in particular the Norilsk concentrator), he believes. This is facilitated by the fact that in the next 3-4 years Norilsk Nickel will actively engage in the environmental Sulfur project, which requires about $ 2.5 billion, and will be less interested in independent development of the assets of the Southern cluster, N.Sosnovsky believes. "Perhaps now, Norilsk Nickel would have reacted positively to an interesting project for the development of the Southern cluster, which will bring returns from assets in 3-4 years, when the company itself could return to this topic," he said.
Meanwhile, platinum projects (in the impregnated ores of the Montenegrin deposit, the platinum content is high) do not cause such interest of investors as before, which is fraught with difficulties with financing, N.Sosnovsky said. Platinum has fallen in price by 10% since the beginning of the year, in September 2017, this precious metal for the first time in 15 years has become cheaper than palladium. The drop in the price for platinum is caused by the effect of dieselgate, which resulted in a decrease in demand for diesel cars, for the purification of exhausts of which platinum is applied. The world's largest distributor of platinoids, Johnson Matthey, predicts that in 2018 a small surplus of supply will form on the market for the first time in 6 years. In 2016, there was a deficit of about 500 thousand ounces, in 2015 - 700 thousand ounces. BMO Capital Markets expects a 16% drop in the price of platinum in 2018 and a minimum of 14% until 2021.
"Of course, negative factors can be smoothed out, and a positive cycle will come for platinum," says the director for metallurgy and mining Prosperity, "but you need to take out a loan from the bank now, and the bankers do not really go into long-term prospects, they consider everything at spot prices. the project does not "fly" at current prices, it's hard to convince them. "
"Russian Platinum" owns two licenses for platinum deposits in Taimyr - the Montenegrin and southern part of the Norilsk-1 field (the northern part is being developed by Norilsk Nickel through the Zapolyarny mine and the Bear Creek quarry). The first deposit "Russian Platinum" acquired from "Onexim" in 2011, the second - won at auction in 2013. M.Bazhayev intended to invest $ 4bn by 2019 with the goal of creating a world leader in the production of platinum group metals in Russia. " At different times, "Russian Platinum" agreed on financing with Gazprombank and VEB, but the agreements were not implemented.
The ore reserves of the Chernogorskoye field, located 15 km southeast of Norilsk, are 143 million tonnes. The total content of platinum is about 4 grams per ton. Target annual production figures are estimated at around 15 tons of palladium, almost 6 tons of platinum and 26,000 tons of non-ferrous metals per year. The reserves of the southern part of Norilsk-1 are estimated at 273,000 tons of nickel, 378,000 tons of copper, and 12,700 tons of cobalt and 518 kilograms of platinum. So far the only extracting asset of the Russian Platinum is the alluvial deposit of the Konders platinoids in the Amur Region, which has been under development since 1984.