ALROSA announced it had initiated diamond mining at its new Zarya pipe located in the operational area of its existing Aikhal mine. The new deposit is expected to have a productive life in excess of 10 years.
ALROSA said it had spent RUB 12 billion ($188 million) in developing the pipe. Its major advantage was that since it was located just 3 kilometres from the existing Aikhal mine, it required no new plant and processing machinery.
The company said the new deposit will compensate for the declining production from its Komsomolsky open-pit mine, which is also located within the Aikhal operational zone.
The Aikhal mine’s operational zone, which employs 4,500 personnel and also includes the Yubileyny pipe, accounts for 30 percent of ALROSA’s production. In 2018, the zone contributed almost 12 million carats worth more than $1.2 billion.
ALROSA plans to extract and process 100,000 tonnes of kimberlite from the Zarya pipe this year.