August 2019

In 2019 Ellatzite-Med AD, a leading company in Bulgarian mining industry, celebrates 44 years since the establishment of Ellatzite Copper Mining and Processing Plant and 20 years since the company joined GEOTECHMIN GROUP.

Ellatzite Copper Mining and Processing Plant was established by the Ministry of Mechanical Engineering and Metallurgy pursuant to an Ordinance promulgated in the State Gazette on 11 February 1975. In the same year, the construction of a unique 6.5-km tunnel commenced to connect Ellatzite mine, Etropole municipality, with the future Flotation Plant near the village of Mirkovo. The first construction works at the mine site started in 1976 under the management of then-Director Eng. Gosho Kostov. Among the young builders was the current President of Geotechmin OOD Tzolo Voutov, who had just graduated from the university as a mine surveyor. In the course of the next few years, he was part of the team of the mine complex: firstly as a Mine Surveyor, then he consequently worked as a Chief Mine Surveyor, Chief Engineer, and Deputy Director of Production and Technical Department. He took part in the construction of the most complicated mine workings and flotation facilities in the period 1976-1982, for which he was awarded the National Order of Labor - Gold. At the beginning of 1981, the commissioning of Ellatzite Copper Mining and Processing Plant was successfully completed. The company commenced open-pit mining and primary processing of porphyry copper and gold bearing ores. The mined material was transported from the open-pit mine by a rubber-belt conveyor to the crushers and the mills in the Flotation Plant, thus launching the long-awaited flotation process. On 18 February 1983, Ellatzite Copper Mining and Processing Plant was officially inaugurated.

Founded in the time of socialism, after its privatization the mine complex has been developed and upgraded by the owners and the entirely Bulgarian management teams of Geotechmin and Ellatzite-Med. The year 1999 was the dividing line between past, present, and future. A difficult period followed due to the steady decline in copper prices on the London Metal Exchange during 1999-2002. This brought about serious financial difficulties to the company and called for urgent economic measures and appropriate mining and technical solutions. After overcoming the crisis, a long-term strategy for the company development and production expansion was devised and adopted. The purpose of this strategy was to make Ellatzite-Med a sustainable, well-functioning and globally competitive mining company providing a good living standard for its employees and in the regions where it operates.

Projects related to extending the life of Ellatzite mine are of key strategic importance for the long-term mine operation and the company’s future viability. According to the initial mine design, the proven mineral reserves were estimated at 220 million tons and the annual production capacity of the mine and the flotation plant amounted to 10 million tons of copper ore. On the basis of these estimations, the mine was supposed to stop operating in 2006. The mine designers developed various scenarios for ensuring the company’s long-term operation, significant mine expansion and life of mine extension. Geotechmin’s specialists created a digital block model to recalculate the reserves and resources of Ellatzite deposit. Today the life of Ellatzite mine and the company that employs thousands of people, respectively sustaining their families, was extended by 25 years. In terms of copper ore mining production capacity, Ellatzite mine ranks among the top mining companies in Europe.

Ellatzite Med’s operation has efficiently and sustainably grown since its privatization 20 years ago by GEOTECHMIN GROUP. This was guaranteed by extensive research and development, and capital investment in cutting edge equipment and technologies. The success story of Ellatzite-Med showed a substantial transition from a mine complex into an upscale technology company. The digital transformation includes the implementation of advanced automation systems, fleet management solutions, slope stability monitoring and management systems, etc. The growing coherence along the whole working circuit – of people, equipment, and systems – has optimized the technological processes in Ellatzite mine, the Flotation Plant, and Benkovski-2 Tailings Pond. All this leads to higher productivity, lower production costs and better quality of the final product.

Ellatzite-Med’s experts seek to find the best solutions in all aspects of mine management - from exploration and evaluation of mineral resources through ore-beneficiation to reclamation. Furthermore, staff working conditions and occupational health and safety have been continuously improved. After the privatization of the company, it has become its top priority to undertake environmental pollution control measures and ensure compliance with the applicable norms and standards. Ellatzite-Med has integrated these measures in its environmental protection and recovery programmes for the region of Ellatzite deposit updating them every five years of the concession contract term.

Ellatzite-Med is a responsible concessionaire, investor and employer. The company has more than 1850 full-time employees, thousands of suppliers, and makes valuable contribution to the quality of life in eight municipalities. The management team is constantly striving to motivate staff and increase their job satisfaction, as well as develop its corporate social responsibility.

After 44 years, 20 of which in GEOTECHMIN GROUP, Ellatzite-Med AD has been an example of an intelligent industrial enterprise with efficient and sustainable development. Its business success has been achieved through strong teamwork between shareholders, managers and employees in a constructive dialogue with the trade unions and in good cooperation with administrative institutions, employers’, industrial and scientific organizations and business partners.



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