Alrosa has commissioned the Udachny underground diamond mine in the Sakha Republic, eastern Russia, at the site of a surface mining operation that began in 1971. Upon reaching its design capacity of 4 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of ore in 2019, the underground mine will become the largest underground diamond mine in Russia and one of the largest worldwide.
Open-pit mining at the Udachnaya pipe is expected to be fully completed in 2015. Until then, the underground and open-pit mines will operate in parallel. (Photo courtesy of Alrosa)
During the second half of 2014, underground diamond mining at Udachny willbe ancillary to orebody development. Commercial production is scheduled to start in 2015, reaching 2.4 million to 3 million mt/y by 2016 and 4 million mt/y by 2019. Once design capacity is reached, the mine will produce more than 5 million carats/y of diamonds.
The underground mine is scheduled to produce an estimated 72.3 million mt of ore by 2034. Additional prospective resources are estimated at 72.8 million mt.
Open-pit mining at the Udachnaya pipe is expected to be fully completed in 2015. Until then, the underground and open-pit mines will operate in parallel.
Udachny is Alrosa's fourth underground mine. Currently, Alrosa operates the International and Aikhal underground mines, each with design capacity of 500,000 mt/y of ore, and the Mir underground mine, with design capacity of 1 million mt/y.