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Kolyma Gold Refinery

Location: Khasynsky District, Magadan Oblast;  (GPS: 61o03’N 151o51’E)

Description: During Stalin’s repressions in 1930ties and 1040ties the region was infamous for a network of Gulag labor camps almost exclusively dedicated to gold mining. Untold thousands of people perished, working in appalling conditions to produce ca. 70 tons (2,250,000 oz) of gold per year. In the post-Stalin era (1953 – 1990), gold production continued with the labor force made of former prisoners who have chosen to stay in the region and people attracted by higher wages paid for working in the severe northern climate. Several new hard-rock plants were built, but most of the production came from numerous small prospector cooperatives (Staratelskaya Artel), some private but most state-owned.  

Placer concentrates and doré was shipped to refineries in Novosibirsk and Krasnoyarsk. Refined gold was passed to the GOKHRAN of the USSR, which was giving advances in preparation for the next season. In Magadan’s harsh weather conditions, all placer mining was seasonal, late spring to early fall.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and chaos that ensued for the better part of the decade, Magadan found itself neglected by Moscow. The majority of the population migrated to “better” parts of the country. Gold production fell dramatically.

In the late 1990s, the local government decided to build a gold refinery to boost the economy and attract people back to the region.

Intertech was contracted to turn-key Au refinery to serve Magadan, Chukotka, Kamchatka and part of Yakutia.

Project: Turn-key Gold Refinery designed to produce 30 ton per year of 999.9 purity gold. Intertech engineered, delivered, and installed the entire plant within eight months. The process equipment included:

  • Induction melting furnaces for melting incoming doré and placer gold concentrate.
  • Fire Assay and Analytical Laboratory for the account settling analysis.
  • Molten gold granulation system
  • Aqua Regia dissolution reactors
  • Precipitation reactors
  • Cooling towers
  • Neutralization towers
  • Scrubbers
  • Electrowinning
  • Ingot pouring assembly
  • Certification laboratory

Incoming gold-containing more than 10% of silver was treated with Miller Process – induction melting, purging melt with chloride gas, and removing silver chloride.

With the growing demand for refining at Kolyma Gold Refinery (KAZ), customer added the capacity to produce up to 70 tons/year of gold and up to 300t/year of silver.

During the five years after commissioning, Intertech has guided KAZ through the process of obtaining Good Delivery status with LME (London Metal Exchange).