OJSC "Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company" (UMMC) in accordance with the terms of licenses start prospecting work on the site and Elanskii Elkinskogo copper-nickel ore occurrences in Novokhopersk district of Voronezh region, the company said.
Exploration and research work will be carried out over two and a half years of their completion is scheduled for the third quarter of 2015.
In May 2012, LLC "Mednogorsky copper-sulfur complex" (an enterprise of UMMC) has won the competition for the right to use subsoil Elanskii and Elkinskogo fields to exploration, development and mining of copper-nickel ores. License for subsoil company received on July 25 last year.
Information on the company's intention to develop the field has caused a series of protests of local residents and experts. Environmental groups and local residents fear that the establishment of mining and metallurgical production in the area will lead to the pollution of water and air, soil degradation and worsening conditions for agriculture, as well as the negative effects on human health.
According to RIA Novosti ekoaktivist city Novohopersk Nelly Rudchenko, Ltd. "Mednogorsky copper and sulfur plant" is not started work on the site of nickel ore occurrences in Novokhopersk area.
"At the moment there is no work. Cossacks put outpost in Elkinskogo field where Elanskii — is patrolled by local people and Cossack patrols" — said Rudchenko.
UMMC notes that the projects and assessment work for Elkinskom mineralization and prospecting and exploration on Elanskii mineralization previously received positive opinions FBU "SRC" and agreed with the Department of Mineral Resources in the Central Federal District.
The company reports that online sites ready infrastructure for exploration, conducted reconnaissance work for the removal of sections of exploration in the field and at the choice of sites for placement of drilling rigs.
During the prospecting and exploration, in addition to better data on mineral reserves, and address the hydrogeological conditions and mining license areas, we estimate the effect of the deposit development on the environment, the company said.
Last October, the General Director of "UMMC-Holding" Andrew Kozitsyn said UMMC will develop Voronezh deposits only if the result of exploration confirmed reserves of C1-C2 will be no less than 500,000 tons of nickel. According to him, the entire investment in the project is planned in the amount of about 70 billion rubles, of which one-third will go to the construction of a metallurgical plant in Kirovograd, the rest will be spent on mining.
Resources Elkinskogo site by category P2 54.6 thousand tons of copper, 393.8 thousand tons of nickel and 14.4 thousand tons of cobalt. Predicted resources by category P1 Elanskii was 5.6 thousand tons of copper, 54.1 thousand tons of nickel, cobalt, 1.7 thousand in category P2 — 40,3 thousand tons of copper, 351.6 thousand tons of nickel and 10.3 thousand tons cobalt.
Initial payment for Elkinskomu deposit was set at 73.4 million rubles, Elanskii — 96.3 million rubles. The fee for participation in both competitions — to 90 thousand rubles. License for each field was granted for 25 years.
UMMC manages nearly 50 companies in various industries in Russia and abroad, and is the second largest Russian producer of copper and zinc. Annually produces about 350,000 tons of copper cathodes, about 260,000 tons of wire rod, 90,000 tons of zinc.