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KURANAKH

Overview

Kuranakh, 100% owned by IRC, is the Group’s first mining operation and is the first vertically integrated titano-magnetite operation in Russia, designed, built and managed by IRC. The mine was initiated in 2010 and was moved to care and maintenance since the end of 2015 due to difficult operating environment in commodities market.

The Kuranakh Mine is located in the Amur Region of the Russian Far East, located near the town of Olekma, a principal stop on the BAM Railway. The operation covers 85km 2 and comprises the Kuranakh and Saikta open-pit mines, The operation produces an iron ore concentrate with a 62.5% Fe quality content and an ilmenite concentrate with a 48% TiO2 quality content. The concentrates are directly loaded onto railcar wagons for transportation via the BAM and Trans Siberian Railways to customers in Russia and China and internationally via the Russian Pacific sea ports.

Kuranakh — Under Care & Maintenance

Kuranakh has been moved to care and maintenance since the beginning of 2016 due to difficult operating environment. Consequently, during 2017, there was no production or sales from Kuranakh operation. The only minimal costs recorded were for equipment maintenance and security. Nevertheless, in light of the improved commodities market, the management of IRC may consider the option of reopening Kuranakh if the iron ore market upside prevails.

Safety

LTIFR is a measure of the number of lost-time injuries per one million hours worked. As the mine was moved to care and maintenance, there was no injuries and the LTIFR was zero during 2017 (31 December 2016 LTIFR: 4.8).

Chemical Compositions of Kuranakh Concentrates

Iron Ore

Component Mass Fraction %
Fe total 61.0 – 62.5
TiO2 3.50 – 7.50
S ≤0.150
SiO2 ≤3.50
AI2O3 ≤5.50
P2O5 ≤0.050
Moisture Content <9%


Ilmenite (Titanium dioxide)

The Kuranakh operation also produces ilmenite concentrate with a 48% titanium dioxide (TiO2) content. Due to its brightness and high refractive index, titanium dioxide is the most commonly used white pigment. It is used in a range of applications, most notably paints and papers.

The Kuranakh product quality is held in high regard because of its consistency and low impurity levels.

Kuranakh ilmenite concentrate is perfectly suitable for production of titanium dioxide by sulphate method, sulphate titanium slag and aluminothermic ferrotitanium.

  • Stable content of concentrates across deposit
  • High degree sulfatization with sulfuric acid (>97% for grain size class of 95% -0.044mm)
  • Low content of Fe2O3, lower reductant unit consumption and load decrease at iron vitriol crystallization stage
  • Low content of chromophoric admixtures (Cr, V, Co, Ni, Cu); positively affects whiteness of pigment
  • Low content of radioactive components

Component Mass Fraction %
TiO2 48.0 – 51.0
FeO 35.0 – 40.0
Fe2O3 3.00 – 8.50
SiO2 ≤2.00
AI2O3 ≤3.00
P2O5 ≤0.050
V2O5 ≤0.150
Cr2O3 ≤0.070
Moisture Content <1.5%

Kuranakh Mineral Resources & Ore Reserves Summary

Due to low iron ore priced environment in previous years, the Group has put Kuranakh under care and maintenance since the beginning of 2016, with minimal production only during the first quarter of 2016 using remaining stockpiles. As a result, no open-pit mining activities happened during 2016. Also based on low iron ore price environment last year, the reserves of Kuranakh were proved uneconomical and were assumed to be nil.

The full Kuranakh resources are stated below:

Tonnage
Mt
Fe Grade
%
Fe Mt TiO2
Grade %
TiO2
Mt
RESOURCES
Kuranakh Pit
     Measured
     Indicated 4.4 32.0% 1.4 10.2% 0.5
     Inferred 3.3 31.0% 1.0 9.92% 0.3
     Total 7.7 31.6% 2.4 10.1% 0.8
Saikta Pit
     Measured
     Indicated 4.4 29.5% 1.3 9.3% 0.4
     Inferred 5.1 31.4% 1.6 9.3% 0.5
     Total 9.5 30.5% 2.9 9.3% 0.9
Total Measured
Total Indicated 8.8 30.7% 2.7 9.8% 0.9
Total Inferred 8.4 31.0% 2.6 9.6% 0.8
Total 17.2 30.8% 5.3 9.7% 1.7

Assumed average cut-off grades: Kuranakh 17% Fe.