Russia’s Polyus declares Siberian gold deposit holds largest reserves in the world

Russia’s largest gold producer Polyus PJSC has revealed that its untapped Sukhoi Log deposit in Siberia holds the world’s biggest reserves of the precious metal.

CEO Pavel Grachev said that an audit of the deposit, located in the isolated Irkutsk region of Siberia, identified 40 million ounces of proven reserves, as measured by international JORC standards, with an average gold content of 2.3 grams per tonne.

This estimation resembles more than a quarter of Russian gold reserves and means that Sukhoi Log is larger than Seabridge Gold Inc.’s KSM Project in Canada and Donlin Gold in Alaska.

“The estimate of the reserves is an important milestone in development of the field,” Grachev said in an interview in Moscow.

Polyus has already started spending on infrastructure for the long-term project, with main investment due to start in 2023. The company has previously stated that costs could reach US$2.5 billion, with annual output totalling about 1.6 million ounces.

“We want to show that a project of this quality and scale can and should be carried out, taking into account the best environmental standards, despite the hard-to-reach location,” Grachev said.

A pre-feasibility study for the project should be ready by year-end, when investment and production figures are expected to be finalised.