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Russian diamond miner Alrosa today began ore mining at the Botuobinskaya kimberlite pipe at its Nyurba Mining and Processing Division in the Republic of Sahka (Yakutia). The pipe is the first new pipe to become active in Yakutia in the past 10 years.
The pipe, which will be developed as an open pit mine, is expected to produce 230,000 tons of ore and about 1 million carats of rough diamonds this year. When the deposit reaches its design capacity of 400,000 tons of ore a year, diamond production is expected to exceed 2 million carats a year.
Stripping operations to prepare the ore body for mining have been ongoing since 2013.
Botuobinskaya is located within the Nakyn ore field, 3 kilometers from Nyurbinskaya pipe, the main deposit of Nyurba MPD.
The company said the launch of the pipe will compensate for production decrease on Nyurbinskaya pipe; this will also allow Nyurba MPD to maintain stable production volumes at 7.5 million carats of rough diamonds per year.
According to the Russian ore reserves classification system, Botuobinskaya has diamond reserves of 93.021 million carats, with an average diamond grade of 5.65 carats per ton. The pipe’s diamonds are characterized by a relatively large proportion of gem-quality and near-gem-quality crystals with a high degree of transparency.
“Over the past few years ALROSA invested significant funds in building new production capacities,” said ALROSA acting president Ilya Ryashchin at the opening ceremony.
“The development of this deposit is included in ALROSA’s long term development strategy which envisages an increase of diamond production to 41 million carats through putting into operation of new pipes.”