A project proposal for the development of the Pavlovskoye lead-zinc deposit has been approved by Russia’s State Commission for Arctic Development. Rosatom’s First Ore Mining Company (PGRK JSC, a subsidiary of Rosatom’s ARMZ Uranium Holding) will build Russia’s northernmost mining enterprise at the site of the country’s largest metal deposit, which contains 47.7 million tonnes of ore reserves (2.49 million tonnes of zinc, 549,000 tonnes of lead, and 1,194 tonnes of silver). The Pavlovskoe site will produce up to 47,000 tonnes of lead and 223,000 tonnes of zinc concentrate annually.

Total investment in the project will amount to about USD 1 billion (71 billion rubles). About USD 90 million (7 billion rubles) of this sum will be allocated as state subsidies for the construction of infrastructure facilities, including water supply networks, treatment facilities, a helipad and roads. Fiscal payments to the state budget for the entire period of the mine’s operation will amount to at least 43 billion rubles (approximately USD 672 million).

PGRK JSC Executive Director Igor Semenov has said:

“We received the largest subsidy of all the projects announced [by the State Commission], which confirms the importance of the Pavlovskoe site for the development of the Russian Arctic and the Northern Sea Route. Today, we are embarking onto new, undeveloped territories, where we will build a high-tech enterprise with competitive products. The premium quality of these products with minimal impurities is what guaranteed approval of the full scope of the project.”
Both domestic and major non-Russian industrial groups have expressed interest in the metals produced at the Pavlovskoye site. Rosatom is already developing a number of projects that will require much of the Pavlovskoe deposit’s lead reserves.

The project was designed to be economically and operationally efficient thanks to the application of a low-cost, open-cut mining method with a small stripping ratio (shallow bedding), as well as the processing of ore with a high metal content (5.21% zinc, 1.15% lead), innovative technological solutions (such as the placement of the concentrator on a floating platform), and the use of digital technologies and automation.

To date, PGRK has completed engineering surveys and designed both the mine and the seaport. The company has also carried out a geological exploration of the deposit to assess its mineral and ore reserves; the results of this exploration have been reported in accordance with the JORC code. PGRK is currently negotiating with two potential investors.

“Pavlovskoye is a commercial project; therefore, the quality and competitiveness of its products are key benchmarks. As early as the stage of geological exploration, we invited leading world experts to assess the extent to which this project was organised in a comprehensive and first-rate manner and to which its design complies with international standards for quality and the best practices,” emphasised Igor Semenov.

The project is being implemented alongside the Finnish company Outotec, a world leader in technological solutions for the mining sector. In 2019, the companies formalised their intention to cooperation in an agreement stipulating that Outotec would develop production technology in northern latitudes.