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RNS Number : 2643K
21 April 2020
21 April 2020
Update on the Construction of the Pioneer Flotation Plant and Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Following an announcement made on the 17 March 2020, Petropavlovsk PLC ("Petropavlovsk" or the "Company" or, together with its subsidiaries, the "Group") provides an update on key equipment deliveries in respect of the new flotation plant at Pioneer as well as a further update with regards to the Company's business operation, policies and initiatives towards protecting the health and welfare of its staff in relation to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Pioneer flotation plant construction update
-- Despite lockdown measures in place, all key equipment items necessary to complete construction of Petropavlovsk's second flotation plant have now arrived in Russia, thus ensuring the project remains on track for Q4 2020 commissioning
-- Once operating at full capacity, the new flotation plant at Pioneer will double the Group's flotation capacity from 3.6 to 7.2Mtpa
Logistics and sales update
-- The Company continues to monitor its supply chain and is putting in place all necessary precautions to ensure business continuity
-- While the Central Bank of Russia has temporarily suspended gold purchases, commercial banks in Russia continue to buy gold bullion and the Company continues to sell gold through Russian commercial banks
-- The Company also can export gold bullion and confirms that it has the necessary licences in place required to export gold for sale outside of Russia, and that it has shipped gold to the UK and Switzerland in April
Health and safety update
The health and safety of our workers and the local communities within which we operate remains our highest priority during this challenging period.
As of today's date, none of Petropavlovsk's employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
There have been very few cases registered in the Amur region which is a sparsely populated area roughly equivalent in size to France.
Petropavlovsk's mining operations and POX Hub are naturally isolated and away from population centres, and the Group has implemented measures in each operating jurisdiction to meet Government guidelines which are appropriate to the specific needs of each location, including its head offices.
High-level management actions taken include:
-- An emergency response team has been formed to limit the spread COVID-19 at the Group's Companies. Members of the response team will work in co-operation with local authorities, when and if, required
-- The response team includes representatives from each of the Group's businesses in Russia, and coordinators have been appointed at each location who are responsible for preventative and counteractive measures
-- Group business travel has been restricted and the Company's Moscow and London offices have been closed until further notice, with written permission required to enter buildings
Employee and community actions taken include:
-- Mine shift patterns have been adjusted to lower the frequency of new teams arriving onsite
-- Before commencing each shift, employees and contractors are required to undertake 14 days quarantine in two purpose-built camps
-- Medical infra-red thermometers are used daily to take the temperature of employees
-- Designated isolation zones have been set up to house any individuals showing flu-like symptoms
-- In addition to the recommended hygiene measures, a comprehensive site awareness campaign is being carried out
-- Awareness programmes targeting the local community have also been put in place, and the Company is supporting local businesses and the community through the distribution of masks and hand sanitisers
-- As of 2 April 2020, the Russian Government introduced a wide range of measures including an extension of the non-work period until the end of April 2020 (from which Petropavlovsk is exempt as a continuous process organisation) and expanded the authority of regional heads to set further specific measures relevant for their regions
-- These measures include certain tax, credit and reporting holidays which are of benefit to certain suppliers to the Group's business
-- Petropavlovsk has been included in the most recently revised Federal list of Russia's systemically important companies. Additionally, the JSC Pokrovskiy Mine (including Pioneer), LLC Albynskiy Rudnik (Albyn) and LLC Malomirskiy Rudnik (Malomir) companies were all identified as being strategically important to the Amur Region. This implies more stringent oversight by the Federal authorities and local Ministry of Economic Development as well as the executive branch of local government, and the Company believes this reduces the risk of business interruption
Petropavlovsk continues to maintain open dialogue with the authorities to monitor the situation and ensure the Company is abiding by all measures and restrictions.
An announcement will be made immediately to shareholders should there be any material changes to the situation.
With a Premium Listing on the London Stock Exchange, Petropavlovsk (LSE: POG) is a major integrated Russian gold producer with JORC Resources of 20.52Moz Au which include Reserves of 8.21Moz Au.
The Company's key operating mines (Pioneer, Malomir and Albyn) are in the Amur Region in the Russian Far East and the Company has produced a total of c.7.6Moz of gold since operations began in 1994. Petropavlovsk has a strong track record of mine development, expansion and asset optimisation.
The Group recently entered a new era of growth following the successful commissioning and start-up of its flagship asset, the Pressure Oxidation (POX) Hub at Pokrovskiy, which enables the processing of the Company's abundant refractory reserves and resources.
Petropavlovsk is committed to implementing international best practices across all areas of sustainable development and is one of the region's largest employers and contributors to the local economy.
For More Information
Please visit www.petropavlovsk.net or contact:
Petropavlovsk PLC +44 (0) 20 7201 8900
Patrick Pittaway / Max Zaltsman / Viktoriya TeamIR@petropavlovsk.net
Peel Hunt LLP
Ross Allister / David McKeown / Alexander
Allen +44 (0) 20 7418 8900
Canaccord Genuity Limited
Henry Fitzgerald-O'Connor / James Asensio +44 (0) 20 7523 8000
Buchanan +44 (0) 20 7466 5000
Bobby Morse / Kelsey Traynor / Ariadna POG@buchanan.uk.com
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 21, 2020 02:00 ET (06:00 GMT)