Kholodninskoe deposit


UDE #13040 TE License for mining of polymetalic ore at Kholodninskoe deposit in the North-Baikal district of the Republic of Buryatia was issued on 29 March, 2005 for a period ending 2025. The licensed allotment is located 36 km north of Kholodny Razyezd railway station (BAM), 70 km from Nizhneangarsk district centre with more than 5 600 population.

Kholodninskoe deposit is one of the world largest polymetalic ore deposits, it contains up to 30% of Russia’s zinc reserves and up to 15% of lead reserves.

Approved reserves of Kholodninskoe polymetalic ore deposit (the USSR State Reserves Committee (GKZ), Protocol #10519 of 26 October, 1988)


Ore, mmt

Zinc, kt

Lead, kt

Sulphur (pyritic)











Average grade, %





* The ore contains cadmium, indium, selenium, tellurium and silver (28 g/t).

Estimated resource according to JORC


Ore, mmt

Zinc, %

Lead, %









Total resource potential




* There is a technology allowing to obtain:

  • Lead concentrate with  55 % Pb grade and 76 % recovery;
  • Zinc concentrate with 55 % Zn grade and 92 % recovery.

The Government of Buryatia considers the Kholodninskoe deposit development to be of prime importance both for social and economic development of the region and Baikal-Amur mainline zone, and for Russian industry supply with homemade lead and zinc.
 From the moment of license obtaining the East Siberian Metals Corporation has implemented a range of measures related to environmental law compliance:

  • There have been conducted regular ambient monitoring at the deposit in accordance with the programmes approved by Buryat Regional Department of the Federal Service of Environmental, Technological and Nuclear Surveillance (Rostechnadzor);
    There have been fixed the deposit “zero point” providing ecological and geochemical data on the deposit before its development

The following large-scale researches have been carried out:

  • Baseline study (hydrosphere) within the area covered by mining works at Kholodninskoye deposit (2005, 2006, 2007; RAS Siberian Branch, Hydromet);
  • Environmental audit (phase 1.5 and baseline studies with a limited sampling, ERM company);
  • Environmental monitoring (subsoil, water bodies, soils, bioresources) in the mining zone at Kholodninskoe deposit (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011).
  • Ecological expedition of the Moscow State University with chemical composition test protocol (2009, 2010).

Results of studies undertaken

It has been ascertained that to the greatest extent environment had been affected by industrial activities prior to license obtaining (already from 60th) as a result of waste disposal and industrial waste water discharges with no required environmental measures undertaken. In fact the deposit was accessed by two lengthy adit levels, which from the period of site exploration up to present carry up concentrated compounds of metals of 1 and 2 group of toxicity.

According to researches of the Moscow State University Geographical Department carried out in summer 2009-2010 there exists a geochemical effect of Kholodninskoe lead and zinc deposit on the subordinate water bodies, which could be traced downstream Kholodnaya river, though in general it should not exceed the high levels of pollution and could not endanger Baikal Lake.

Preliminary estimation of Kholodninsky Mining and Processing Plant capasityity

Ore output, per year

3,0 mmt

Zinc concentrate output, annual

235,7 kt

Lead concentrate output, annual

37,4 kt

Run time of the plant

50 years

Cumulative annual production (based on concentrate price forecast and 15% return rate)

Not less than 5,9 billion RUB.

Project implementation status

Within the period 2005-2012 there was carried out a substantial volume of pre-project survey and design works according to Russian and Western standards:

• The FS (Feasibility Study) of the first stage of deposit development (PiterGORproject);
• The FS of permanent exploration standards (Sibtsvetmetniiproekt);

o In accordance with the FS an ecologically sustainable project of backfill mining has been adopted;
o A set of measures to minimize the negative impact of mining on environment has been stipulated;
o Surface landscape remains undisturbed as no open mining is to be carried out;
o The developed mining technology allows to avoid the formation of rock dumps and processing waste storages on the deposit surface;
o Negative impact of ore processing waste will be eliminated by locating tailings management facilities 25 km away from the site, outside the Baikal Lake watershed;

• The FS has been studied by the Scientific and Technical Council of the Ministry of Natural Resources of the Republic of Buryatia and the Federal Agency on Mineral Resources “Buryatnedra”. The FS was favorably approved;
• There have been drafted and approved the preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS) (AMC Consultants);
• All necessary scoping studies have been fulfilled;
• There has been worked out a technology allowing to carry out polymetalic ore mining at Kholodninskoe deposit without damage to environment of the Central Ecological Zone of Baikal Natural Territory.

But in result of release of the Russian Federation Government Order (Order #1641-r of 27.11.2006 based on the article 3 of the Federal law "About protection of Lake Baikal") and validation of the boundary of Baikal Natural Territory and its ecological zones – the Central Ecological Zone of Atmospheric Influence - the location of Kholodninskoe deposit is included in the Central Ecological Zone.

According to the list of activities forbidden in the Central Ecological Zone of Baikal Natural Territory the polymetalic ore mining, exploration and development of new deposits (where operations have not been started) is prohibited in the Central Ecological Zone.
Taking into account the above the Federal Agency on Mineral Resources (Order #1382 of 21.12.2012) suspended the right to use mineral resources at the licensed area until 31.12.2014.


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