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The Aktogay mine is a large scale, open pit operation similar to Bozshakol. Aktogay commenced production of copper cathode from oxide ore in December 2015 and achieved commercial production on 1 July 2016.

Aktogay at a glance

Copper production 2019
145.7 kt

Gross EBITDA 2019

Net cash cost 2019
98 USc/lb

Oxide copper production
c.20 kt

Annual cathode production 2017-2025

Sulphide copper production
170 kt

Expected annual production 2022-2027

Sulphide copper production
130 kt

Expected annual production 2028 onwards

Mine life
~25 years

Mine life including expansion project


Stage 1 headcount

Stage 1 capital cost
$2.0 billion


Stage 2 capital cost
$1.2 billion


Operating costs

Net cash costs (USc/lb) 2017-2027

Construction timeline


Unlike Bozshakol, which was a green field site when we started working there, Aktogay had the advantage of some existing infrastructure including power and transportation links. We carried out surveying works on the intended location of the concentrator and started removing top soil to prepare the area for the camps and main buildings.

Initial works

We made further progress with the earthworks for the main buildings, continued removing top soil and improving the roads. We established the temporary camp and offices and started preparing the ground for the permanent camp. We started work on the construction of the main drainage trench for the heap leach pad and began to pour the concrete foundations of the main processing plants. In Q4, we finished off infrastructure links including rail tracks and the 110 kV transmission lines.

Construction of the sulphide concentrator

The contract for the construction of the sulphide concentrator was awarded to Non Ferrous China (“NFC”) in September 2014, the largest item in the capital expenditure budget for Aktogay. Following this contract award the Group was able to confirm that the total capital cost for the Aktogay project was expected to be in the region of $2.3bn (later reduced to $2.0bn). In the first half of 2014 we completed 50% of the construction of 110 kV overhead transmission line and commenced bulk earthworks at the site. The assembly of mining equipment continued. The contractor for the heap leach plant mobilised and commenced foundation works. We started the construction and installation of the water pipeline and railway spurs.

Completion of oxide facilities

In the first half of 2015 we completed the acid storage facilities and the PLS pump house, sulphide plant foundations and the first two oxide heap leach cells (101 and 102) were completed and ready to receive ore. The construction of the oxide plant buildings and processing facilities, heap leach cells 103-109 and the permanent camp were completed in time for the commencement of cathode production from oxide ore in December 2015. At the sulphide project, the sites for the primary crusher and conveyor were prepared.

Completion of the sulphide concentrator

Works on the main sulphide concentrator were substantially completed in 2016 and commissioning works began in December, with production of saleable copper concentrate following in February 2017. The capital budget for the project has been reduced by over $270 million to approximately $2.0 billion.

Expansion project approved

In December 2017 the Board approved a $1.2 billion expansion project to double sulphide ore processing capacity from 25 million tonnes to 50 million tonnes, with first production expected in the second half of 2021.

Expansion project – initial works

During 2018 initial excavation and earthworks were completed and long lead-time equipment orders were placed. Our recent experience in building facilities of this type will enable us to execute a greater proportion of the project using the Group’s in-house management capabilities than we did with Bozshakol and Aktogay, working closely with proven local and international contractors and suppliers.

Expansion project – on schedule

In H1 2019 the Group has continued to make good progress with the expansion project at Aktogay. Foundations for grinding and flotation equipment were successfully laid and the erection of structural steel is largely complete. The Group has taken delivery of and put into operation the first of the new larger mining fleet vehicles, including Caterpillar 793 mine haul tracks and 994 loaders, which will deliver the increased ore extraction volumes required for the second concentrator.

Stage 1 Site Plan

  • 220kv connection to Karaganda power station
  • Competitive power costs
  • Groundwater supply accessed via boreholes
  • Concentrator recycles 70-80% of process water
  • Rail spur link to national rail network
  • Bagging plant loads rail cars directly
  • Two days to Alashankou on the Chinese border
  • 1,500 employees
  • Transition to local management after start-up

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