CHITA, February 14. /TASS/. The Norilsk Nickel (Nornickel), the world's largest producer of palladium and refined nickel, will receive for free use a 224-km railroad passage to its Bystrinsky GOK (Mining and Processing Plant), the company’s press service said on Wednesday.
"Late last year (2017), Nornickel organized the Bystrinsky transport branch, which organized a competition for serving the passage," the company said. "The transport branch entered a contract with the winner in January, and now the contractor is finishing the passage, and Roszheldor (the national railroad authority) has allowed as yet the railroad’s only temporary exploitation."
"When construction works at the passage are over, Nornickel will receive it for free use," the press service added.
According to the company, the construction is due to be finished in July, and before the yearend it will be put operational and transferred to Nornickel.
The railroad’s construction was a public-private partnership. The infrastructures’ costs exceeded 32 billion rubles ($556 million), where 25% was paid by Nornickel and the rest money came from the federal budget, the press service said.
Construction of the railway line from Borzi to the Gazimur Plant began in 2008, and in 2015 it was opened for tests. The line is to connect the Bystrinsky Mining Plant with the Transbaikal Railway’s Southern Route, which goes from Transsib to the border with China.
The Bystrinsky Mining and Processing Plant is on the list of Norilsk Nickel’s first-class assets. The project began in 2007, and is the region’s priority project.
The Bystrinsky GOK comprises the Bystrinsky mining and processing plant, and will mine gold-iron-copper ores to produce copper, gold, and magnetite concentrates.
The company noted that the area hosts the Bystrinsky gold-iron-copper deposit with total ore reserves of around 343mt, ensuring that the project will have an operational life of more than 30 years.
Construction of the Bystrinsky GOK is Russia’s biggest greenfield project in the metallurgical sector.
In late 2017, the company commenced hot commissioning operations at the plant. The company expects the hot commissioning to last for several months. The design capacity expected to be reached by the end of 2019. Once the project reaches its annual design capacity of 10mt of ore, it is expected to become the company’s third major production asset.
By 2020, the plant will produce 70-75 million tons of copper a year. "Over the first ten years of the plant’s work, the regional budget will receive more than 18 billion rubles ($312 million) in taxes, and the plant will offer more than 3,000 jobs," the press service said.