RG Gold : Forging Golden Prospects

Eddie ClintonEd Budds
Eddie Clinton - Senior Head of Projects Ed Budds - Editor

RG Gold’s primary target in terms of procurement is to create a stable and timely supply of goods, works, and services with the highest possible economic efficiency. We discover how the gold mining company is achieving and surpassing these ambitious goals with CEO, Lawrence Rossouw.

FORGING GOLDEN PROSPECTS

Kazakhstan has worked meticulously to position itself as a global leader in the mining and processing of gold; the country produces around 70 to 80 tonnes (t) of refined product each year. 

The success of its domestic refined gold industry, along with the investment characteristics that gold has demonstrated throughout the last decade, have positioned the precious metal as fundamental to the reserves of the Central Bank of Kazakhstan. 

Within this monumental industry, a crucial national resource is the impressive Raygorodok gold mine. 

The history of Kazakhstan’s Raygorodok gold deposit dates back to 1996; it was in this year that the first geological exploration work was carried out at the Novodneprovskoye contract area, which consists of two quarries – Northern and Southern Raygorodok, forming the overall gold deposit located in Burabay District in the Akmola Region, combining to create one of the nation’s largest and most profitable sites. 

RG Gold is a gold mining company that develops the Raygorodok deposit field, where, according to Joint Ore Reserve Committee (JORC) classification, gold reserves total 100 t, which also makes it one of the largest mono-gold fields in the country. In future, the company’s plan is to potentially develop Novodneprovskoye and the Sharyk deposits. 

The Australasian Code for Reporting of Exploration Results, Mineral Resources, and Ore Reserves, produced by JORC, provides a mandatory system for the classification of exploration results, mineral resources, and ore reserves according to the levels of confidence in geological knowledge and technical and economic considerations in public reports.   

Lawrence Rossouw, CEO of RG Gold, believes it is a very exciting time within the industry in Kazakhstan, as the country is busy attracting foreign investment which will undoubtedly prove critical for the development of the mining landscape.  

“I think Kazakhstan is still fairly new in terms of being a mining investment hub for large international corporations. However, more and more of the bigger mining companies are looking for opportunities here, alongside a boom of junior businesses that are searching and doing extensive exploration,” he introduces. 

“At present, there also seems to be a drive from the Kazakh government to support foreign investment into this space and remove obstacles that traditionally made it challenging for foreign investors to bring their money to the nation.”

RAYGORODOK SUCCESS STORY

Since its foundation, RG Gold has invested over USD$20 million in exploration at Raygorodok.  

Just a decade after operations began, 18,000 kilogrammes (kg) of gold reserves from the Northern Raygorodok site, as well as 19,000kg from the Southern Raygorodok facility, were successfully verified by RG Gold, and incremental mining was then initiated at both pits. Interestingly, the deposit was once considered small, with a development period of only five years.   

In 2014, Verny Capital received the rights to develop the contract area. From this moment on, a new stage began in the history of the field with the purchase of modern equipment, expansion of the crushing and screening complex capacity, development of a professional team, investment in geological exploration, and increase in the resource potential of the field.  

A new core storage facility was built to store ore samples obtained during exploration drilling, while active development of the South Raygorodok deposit had simultaneously begun. By heap leaching oxidised ores, more than 1 t of gold in the Doré alloy was produced immediately in 2015, which increased production volume by 75 percent. 

In addition to new production processes, the lives of workers and engineers gradually improved with the introduction of a new rotation camp complete with dormitories, a canteen, and a sports ground. Alongside this, active social work began to improve the villages adjacent to the deposit. 

Next, airborne geophysical, ground-based areal, and geophysical profile work was carried out. More than 3,000 exploratory and specialised wells with a total length of 350 kilometres (km) were drilled to study the geological conditions of the field, and 232,000 samples were taken for detailed assay analysis. In addition, the technological properties of gold ore were studied and, through metallurgical tests, regulations were drawn up on the most effective processing method. 

Based on RG Gold’s exploration results, ore reserves in Raygorodok increased threefold according to the standards of the State Reserves Commission, from 34 t in 2014 to  
108 t in 2018.   

For the first time in the history of the field, an assessment was carried out according to the international JORC classification. The total resources were estimated at 185 t, of which economically viable reserves for processing amounted to 100 t. Subsequently, confirmed reserves then extended the development period of the field from five years to two decades. 

When studying the mineral composition of ore samples, it was established by the company that gold in oxidised and primary ores is found mainly in free form and large intergrowths with pyrite, galena, and quartz, or in microcracks of pyrite and quartz. 1 t of ore from Southern Raygorodok contains about 1.3 grams (g) of gold on average, compared to 1g from Northern Raygorodok. Furthermore, continued geological exploration confirmed that Raygorodok is a large gold ore object of the zonal stockwork type. 

ENHANCING SOCIAL WELL-BEING

Responsibility is a crucial principle of RG Gold.  

This foundational value means being responsible towards not only the company’s own resources and employees, but also the people who live near the Raygorodok mine. 

“Our company implements social projects worth about KZT100 million every year, and we regularly meet with local residents and representatives where we discuss potential directions for future investments that would help improve the socioeconomic quality of life in the area,” Rossouw affirms. 

“Meanwhile, our sponsorship portfolio is continuously growing; new projects arise based on residents’ requests as well as the projects initiated by RG Gold. Infrastructure in the nearby villages is being improved, and schools are being repaired and fitted out systematically with materials and equipment,” he continues. 

To supplement this, local residents are prioritised for employment, regional small businesses receive support, the best regional graduates are given educational grants to go to colleges or universities, and cultural, sports, and entertainment events are organised for the community by the company. 

In this way, RG Gold adheres to its own carefully established principles of sustainable development and aspires to implement social projects locally.

PLANTING SEEDS FOR SUCCESS

In September 2022, a brand new five million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) primary gold ore processing plant was brought into operation by RG Gold, capable of reaching greatly enhanced production levels.   

The new carbon-in-pulp (CIP) plant’s design is unique as it allows ore processing with the lowest operating costs and presents an opportunity to implement global environment protection standards. 

“Our new CIP plant was designed by international engineering companies with a focus on automated production and the implementation of advanced metallurgy technologies. Incredibly, the plant was erected in an astonishing 18 months,” details Rossouw. 

A jewel in the RG Gold crown, the game-changing plant features state-of-the-art equipment made by leading manufacturers, such as Metso Outotec, ThyssenKrupp, FLSmidth, Weir Minerals, Roytec, and Kemix. This high-tech equipment not only ensures the safety of staff, but has notably increased the efficiency of production and led to lower operating costs across the board. 

“The launch of the new processing plant was a key milestone for RG Gold. It is underpinned by the highest global industry standards using the latest innovation and technical expertise from Resource Capital Funds, our strategic partner,” he adds.   

In designing and erecting the CIP plant, RG Gold pursued a zero-emission environment policy, and the site’s cyanide will continue to be neutralised in line with international standards. Furthermore, after preliminary treatment and destruction, all waste is pumped into a vast storage facility constructed for this specific purpose and supervised by international experts.  

The launch of this groundbreaking new production hub promises to have a beneficial and multifaceted effect on regional development; new jobs will be created, and small businesses will grow through supplying services and goods to this major industrial plant. 

Additionally, as part of the project, RG Gold has built a brand new accommodation camp where over 300 additional people have been employed, mostly made up of local residents.

“The launch of the new processing plant was a key milestone for RG Gold. It is underpinned by the highest global industry standards using the latest innovation and technical expertise”

Lawrence Rossouw, CEO, RG Gold

POWER TO THE PEOPLE

“At RG Gold, we aim to provide not just a job, but a place that people feel proud to be associated with.” 

Expanding on this bold statement from Rossouw, the company maintains a keen focus on employee development and implements international best practices in the technologies it deploys, as well as the systems and business processes it uses.  

“Our international shareholder owns multiple projects across the world, and we tap into this opportunity to ensure we stay ahead. The implementation of modern engineering and digital tools provides our people with skills and qualifications that give us an edge over other mines. We also strive to be the safest mine not just in Kazakhstan, but the whole region,” he voices. 

Elsewhere, RG Gold systematically contributes to the development of the region. 

When hiring new personnel, the company gives preference to local specialists, allocates educational grants for local youth, purchases household goods and services from local entrepreneurs, and invests in the improvement of villages near the deposit. 

Today, alongside its monumental growth, 1,100 people are employed by RG Gold to work at the Raygorodok mine and the company headquarters.  

“Employees play a key role in any production, and despite the importance of material and technical resources, the human factor remains a priority and is the main asset which requires attention and support, as well as safe labour conditions,” Rossouw acclaims. 

RG Gold has an effective staff incentive system in place in addition to an advantageous employee rewards programme. Staff salaries are revised annually and depend on the planned production targets achieved, as well as key performance indicators (KPIs). 

“Our main priority in terms of employees is to enhance labour conditions with a resolute focus on safety. We strive for a zero-harm culture where every employee is responsible not just for their own safety, but also the safety of their fellow colleagues,” he insights.

“At RG Gold, we aim to provide not just a job, but a place that people feel proud to be associated with”

Lawrence Rossouw, CEO, RG Gold

PROTECTING PERSONNEL AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Protecting personnel and ensuring safe work is one of the company’s fundamental values. 

RG Gold invests heavily in improving its safety culture and maintains the highest standards of management control in the field of occupational health and safety. 

Additionally, RG Gold pays special attention to sustainability issues and environmental protection. The principle that the company follows is ‘zero emissions released into the environment’; all processes are therefore carried out in accordance with the requirements of local and international standards. 

Accounting for public opinion, RG Gold creates conditions for open cooperation in the field of environmental protection with government agencies, interested organisations, and the public. 

It does this through an open demonstration of environmental responsibility, fulfilment of target indicators of information, and communication technologies in the field of environmental protection. 

As such, public hearings on planning issues for the construction of new facilities are periodically held in the form of open meetings. 

Equally concerned with the protection of its people, RG Gold also rewards exceptional attitudes towards safety and has created a fund to reward employees who prevent serious production and safety incidents.  

Elsewhere, the company offers support for employees affected by natural disasters or emergencies resulting in considerable financial damage or a threat to either health or life. 

As well as improved labour conditions provided by the company, RG Gold’s employees are entitled to a special social support package which includes medical insurance for staff and their family members, mobile communication services, languages training, transportation, and discounts as part of partner programmes. 

Additionally, the company hosts various corporate events, including training, sporting events, and festivals, and provides opportunities for further education and training. 

When employees face major events in their lives, RG Gold also offers bonus social leave. For example, in case of the birth of a child or a wedding ceremony, an additional holiday is given; employees are likewise given free time to attend important family and school-related events.  

On top of this, the company provides financial aid to employees who retire, give birth to a child, or get married. Staff who have three or more school-aged children are also given financial support to prepare for the new academic year. 

No doubt, it is the company’s unmatched dedication to social development, alongside the technical enhancement of its mines, that will continue to distinguish RG Gold within such a competitive and constantly expanding field. 

RG GOLD PARTNERS

REPUBLISHED ON:Mining Outlook
PUBLISHED BY:Outlook Publishing
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By Eddie Clinton Senior Head of Projects
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Eddie Clinton is Senior Head of Projects for Outlook Publishing. Eddie is responsible for showcasing corporate stories in our digital B2B magazines and Digital Platforms, and sourcing collaborations with Business Leaders, Brands, and C-suite Executives to feature in future editions. Eddie is actively seeking opportunities to collaborate. Reach out to Eddie to discover how you and your business could be our next cover story.