Russian diamond mining company Alrosa has initiated development of a new open-pit mining operation on the Zarya pipe at its Aikhal Mining and Processing Division in north-central Russia. The mine is scheduled to reach design capacity of 1 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of ore by 2021. Mine life is projected at 13 years.


Alrosa’s development of the Zarya pipe at its Aikhal division is intended to replace depleted reserves at its
Komsomolsky mine, shown here. (Photo: Alrosa)

“The construction of an open-pit mine on the Zarya deposit is a very important investment project,” Alrosa First Vice President–Executive Director Igor Sobolev said. “The start of mining operations at the Zarya pipe will allow us to replace dwindling reserves at the Komsomolsky open-pit mine.”

The Zarya open pit is one of Alrosa’s major investment projects. Initial investment is planned at 9.8 billion rubles (about $150 million). Development of the pit will guarantee stable use of the Aikhal Division’s existing processing facilities, with total rough diamond recovery from the pit estimated at 3.6 million carats.

The Aikhal Mining and Processing Division was established in 1986 and currently mines rough diamonds at the Yubileyny and Komsomolsky open pits and the Aikhal underground mine. In 2015, the division produced about 12.3 million carats and accounted for about 32% of Alrosa’s total production of 38.3 million carats.

The Yubileyny open pit accounted for the major portion of the Aikhal Division’s production in 2015, with production of about 9.4 million carats. The Yubileyny pit has reserves estimated at 97 million carats and is expected to remain in production until 2030.

The Aikhal Division employs more than 4,300 people.

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