More diamonds: Where millions of carats come from

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YAKUTSK, November 6. /TASS/. Russia’s leading diamond producer Alrosa began development of a new deposit of diamonds – Verkhne-Munskoye in northern Yakutia, some 170km from the company’s mining and refinery plant. Production will continue there for more than 20 years, giving stable revenues to the company and new jobs to the locals, the company said.

To become a leader

“The production in Verkhnyaya Muna is a big event for the company, for our mono-industrial northern cities,” Alrosa’s Director General Sergei Ivanov said. The new deposit “will compensate for shrinking production at other fields, including the Mir pit.”

The new plant is the company’s biggest investment project. At the preparatory stage, investments made about 16 billion rubles ($242 million), and the total investments would be about 60 billion rubles ($907 million). The projected production is about 1.8 million carats of diamonds a year for more than 20 years – to 2042.

All the diamonds, produced in Yakutia, are sent to a sorting facility in the Mirny city. The crystals, produced in Verkhnyaya Muna, will be processed and sorted there, and afterwards they will be sent to the selling company in Moscow.

Ecology is a priority

Alrosa is a responsible company, which cares for development of local territories and ecology, the region’s head, Aisen Nikolayev said. The company pays special attention to social aspects. It will allocate 100 million rubles ($1.5 million) for solving of social problems in the district.

Preparations

Back in 2015, the company began working on the project. In the complicated northern conditions, it was not easy to make a road to the deposit. Besides, the project focused on keeping and supporting the local natural ecosystems.

The company has been watching reindeer migration routes. This information was used to build special bridges for the animals across the road.

“We use GPS to watch the deer, and all vehicles stop beforehand to allow a reindeer herd cross the road,” Alrosa said. “Thus, we can say that the road between Udachnyi and Verkhyaya Muna is the most ecology-friendly road in Yakutia.”

Local staff is above all

Most works at the deposit will be made on the rotation basis. The plant will give more than 800 new jobs to the locals, the company said.

According to the region’s Minister of Industry and Geology Maxim Tereshchenko, about 20% of people working at the new plant are the locals, “and this share will only grow.”

The new deposit is located in the Arctic zone. “Dozens billions of rubles in investments, expected tax payments, training and further employment for the locals, development of small businesses around the deposit – all this favors industrial development in the Arctic direction,” the minister said.

The Alrosa Company reports the deposit’s ore resources are 65 million tonnes with an average share of diamonds about 0.6 carats per a tonne, or the total of 38 million carats. The plant will reach the projected output in 2019 – three million tonnes of ore a year (1.8 million carats). The project’s term is to 2041.

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