One of key priorities of the State Industrial and Innovative Policy in Kazakhstan is to ensure processing and production of high value-added goods, works and services that underlines the importance of the mining and metallurgy industry development.
With the purpose of fostering the nonferrous industry development the 2010-2014 RoK State Augmented Industrial and Innovative Development Program envisaged creating new processing and finished production facilities and production of pure metals. This area is considered as a prospective opportunity for the technological development of the industry based on a fundamentally different approach to production of basic metals, namely gold – their strategic component.
Gold is the only monetary asset in the world, which carries no risks attributable to currencies, and the only internationally recognized asset, which does not depend on ethnic, linguistic, religious, cultural and national identity.
Gold is used by almost all countries as an insurance (reserve) fund. In the current global economic and political environment gold continues to be a financial instrument to insure against market risks, US dollar exchange rate variation and instability of other world currencies and protect the national sovereignty of any state being used to develop individual regions and implement housing and industrial improvement reforms.
In the course of the Industrial and Innovation Forum “Let’s Build Strong Kazakhstan Together!” in Astana in July 2011 President of the Republic of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev requested the Government to establish a state gold refinery. The Head of State emphasized its strategic significance in increasing of the international reserves and ensuring the national economic security. In addition, he prioritized to increase the gold production to 70 tons.
The Gold Refinery Plant meets both modern requirements for the industry development and strategic objectives associated with the overall national industry and innovation development.
On July 3, 2012 an official capsule and first pile ceremony was held in the Industrial Part of the Astana – New City Special Economic Zone in Astana marking the commencement of the Gold Refinery construction by Tau-Ken Altyn LLP. On 19 December 2013 the Refinery was officially placed in service in presence of the Head of State. Its design capacity is 25 tons of gold and 50 tons of silver a year.
The plant design is based on the best facilities worldwide in the area refining of precious metals. Considering that the refinery is located in the capital city one of basic criteria to select refining technologies was environmental safety. The electrochemical refining of precious metals is applied since this method combined with the available process equipment ensures an absolute environmental safety, enables to process poor quality raw materials containing higher content of impurities and provides high recovery rate and 99.99% purity of the finished product.
Technical Control (TC)
Technical Control is one of the most critical divisions of the Plant since control and adjustment of processes are exercised throughout all stages from acceptance of raw materials to release of finished products.
One of the main criteria for a successful refinery is to be recognized at the international market of precious metals. With this purpose TC has the most advanced metrology equipment including measuring instruments, test tools, tolerance control and make-to-order measurement instruments ensuring highly precise and accurate weighing, measuring and testing of materials containing precious metals with the weight starting at 0.001 g.
Initial Melting Workshop
This facility is equipped with modern induction furnaces with various capacities: 5kg; 10kg; 30kg; 60kg; and 150kg.
These furnaces enable the Plant not to depend on volumes of processed feedstock. Each furnace can be started individually for a given feedstock volume.
- Environmentally safe – each furnace has an individual aspiration system preventing any emission of pollutants to the environment and the working area since all vapor is delivered to the filter;
- Energy-saving – 10 times higher than similar analogues;
- Compact size.
– Initial melting of the feedstock and further correctional sampling and analyzing;
– Anode melting of silver for silver electrolysis workshop;
– Anode melting of gold for gold electrolysis workshop;
– slug treatment.
Silver electrolysis workshop
This facility has both main and auxiliary equipment. Electrolytic cell is the main equipment with rectifier while the auxiliary equipment includes cementing units, filters and vacuum system for sludge pumping.
Basic products of the silver electrolysis shop include cathode silver CpA-1 with 99.99% purity and other products of the electrolytic process.
The electrolytic cell is made of polypropylene, a dielectric and chemically resistant material.
The Cell is fitted with stainless steel cathodes and stainless steel frames for anodes with filter bags to collect anode sludge generated from the electrolytic refining of silver.
Design of these cells has the following advantages if compared to other refining enterprises:
- Cell lids with aspiration system providing 100% capture of evaporation and subsequent neutralization preventing any contamination in the working area and the workshop;
- Each of the four series consisting of six cells is equipped with a separate rectifier and recirculation cell enabling to produce different quality products as to Customer’s choice reduce power consumption thanks to ability to operate only required number of the cells;
- Cathode silver production system provides for the continuous process without any interruptions to ensure better productivity;
- The production capacity is up to 400 tons of cathode silver per year compared to a 50 ton per year routine capacity provided that the feedstock amount is sufficient.
Gold Electrolytic Workshop
Electrolytic refining of gold provides for a highly pure product . This facility is designed to produce cathode gold meeting quality standards.
The workshop is based on electrolytic units each consisting of separate and independently operated cells. The equipment material is polypropylene ensuring a longer service life due to its resistance to acids and various environmental factors. A distinctive feature of this equipment is its absolute environmental safety thanks to aspiration systems in each element of the equipment. All evaporation resulted from the electrolytic process is trapped by aspiration system towers that automatically neutralize it using caustic soda ensuring 99% treatment. Only after that the clean air is released. A separate rectifier for each electrolytic unit, enabling to operate a required number of electrolytic cells depending on the composition and amount of the feedstock.
Bullion Casting Workshop
This facility is fitted with modern and innovative furnaces producing a highly pure finished product (99.99%) as standard gold bars (400 oz.), standard silver bars (1000 oz.), weighed bars of gold and silver (100 g, 250g, 500 g, 1000 g) as well as granules admitted for circulation on the international markets.
Gold and Silver Granulation Furnaces
Static induction melting furnace for production of granules from alloys of precious metals in the graphite crucible equipped with the automatic temperature regulator. The temperature is controlled automatically by the temperature regulator built in the microprocessor. The furnace control is exercised from the microprocessor-based control panel.
- Lesser melting duration thanks to the new technology applied;
- Compact size;
- No electromagnetic impact;
- Low noise.
FLAMELESS TUNNEL FURNACE for production of standard gold and silver bars and weighed bars
Tunnel furnace is an innovation patented by IECO, an Italian company.
- Environmentally safe;
- Energy saving;
- No extra treatment required;
- No loss;
- Safe operation;
- Fully automated.
It should be noted that all equipment is manufactured in accordance with EU technical standards and adapted to Kazakhstan standards.
Central Plant Laboratory
The Refinery has established a Central Laboratory meeting international standards and having the most advanced laboratory equipment. The lab is provides a prompt and efficient analytical assistance to processes and accurate and indisputable analysis of the incoming feedstock and finished products.
The laboratory is certified by the Certification Authority of the Republic of Kazakhstan – National Accreditation Center LLP, a full-fledged member of the ILAC (International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation).
Central Plant Laboratory is subdivided into:
- Quick analysis lab and assaying unit perform a quantitative analysis of the incoming feedstock and materials, technological products and production wastes using x-ray equipment and gravimetric assay analysis;
- Spectrum lab provides quality control of finished production of Tau-Ken Altyn LLP for compliance with interstate and state standards and other regulations set by agreements, identifies impurities in the incoming feedstock and monitors technological solutions etc.;
- Physical and chemical laboratory monitors the composition of technological products, industrial products and byproducts to ensure their compliance with technological instructions.
Treatment Facility Area
This facility equipment enables to collect all process and domestic wastewater. The discharge is supplied through the pipeline in a collection bath where the wastewater PH value is identified. After adjusting the PH level, hydroxides of potentially present metals are formed. Flocculation process occurs based on the natural flocculant. Following 30 minutes overall filtration of neutralized and flocculating water is conducted. Clean water completely cleaned from the waste is re-circulated.
The Refinery Plant is able either to procure the gold-containing raw materials or exercise tolling arrangements.
Refining conditions may vary depending on the volume, quality and presence of permissible impurities in the feedstock.