Assessment of Post-Mining Condition of a Tungsten-Molybdenum Deposit and Possibility of its New Development


R.O. Kalov, G.A. Bekarov

Reserves of the main Russian tungsten deposit, the Primorye Field, are close to depletion. In this connection, the feasibility of resuming the development of the Tyrnyauz tungstenmolybdenum deposit in the Kabardino-Balkar Republic (KBR) has been the subject of discussion for the past decade. According to industry experts, the ore field of this deposit still contains about 50% of the total tungsten reserves of the Russian Federation. However, implementation of the idea will be hindered by a number of both external and internal constraints. The world demand for tungsten and molybdenum is characterized with high volatility. Classical mechanisms to regulate the non-ferrous metals market in Russia are still rudimentary. The production infrastructure at the Tyrnyauz Plant has been completely destroyed, which means high capital costs for the project. The abandoned ore fields disturbed by industrial development have undergone serious changes due to intensive geochemical and gravitational processes. This physical and chemical transformation was caused by internal and external conditions which resulted in formation of migratory and toxic aggregates that had not been manifested at the time of the mine closure. As a result, the natural and man-caused evolution of ores and nonmetallic minerals has caused a significant reduction in the balance reserves of this deposit. The final decision regarding this project should be based on comprehensive understanding the obvious risks, which are impossible to avoid. Thus, if the decision is made to build a new metallurgical enterprise, it will then operate in the new market conditions with more stringent requirements regarding the mining and geological parameters of the deposit. Ore extraction and processing are inherently highly energy intensive processes. It is not an easy task to achieve its high profitability under conditions of constant and unpredictable growth in energy prices. Forecast investments to launch a new mining complex with innovative technology are too high; according to various estimates, they may reach 22-29 billion rubles. The generation of specialists who used to work at the mine before the Perestroyka is gone, and it will take years to create a new highly qualified team.

Keywords: Tyrnyauz tungsten-molybdenum deposit, assessment of the post-mining condition of the deposit, balance ore reserves, valuable alloy metals, construction materials, economics, economically promising resources

Russian Mining Industry №6 / 2020, р.80