31 Oct 2018 11:43

Launch of Verkhne-Munskoye will bolster Alrosa's position on world market - Putin

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) - The Verkhne-Munskoye diamond deposit, which was launched in Yakutia on Wednesday, will strengthen Alrosa's position as the leading diamond miner on the world market, President Vladimir Putin said.

"The launch of this deposit will certainly secure the position of Alrosa, our leading diamond mining company, as the world leader. It already has 27% of global production of rough diamonds," Putin said.

Putin took part in Wednesday's launch of commercial operations at the Verkhne-Munskoye deposit by video conference call from the Kremlin. Alrosa CEO Sergei Ivanov and Yakutia leader Aisen Nikolayev took part in the symbolic launch on site.

The Verkhne-Munskoye deposit is crucial for the nearby processing complex and eponymous town, Putin said. "Of course, this guarantees new jobs, and will facilitate contributions to all budget levels, including the budget of Yakutia," he said.

He said special attention must be paid to the environment and occupational health and safety in the implementation of this project.

"This work is expected to run to 2040-2042, the amount of work ahead is colossal," he said. "I know that, of course, all expert assessments have been done, but nonetheless, in the process of operations I ask that special attention be given to [environmental issues], as well as the issues of occupational health and safety," Putin said.

The deposit is located in the Oleneksky district of Sakha Republic (Yakutia), 170 km from the Udachninsky mining and processing complex. The development of the deposit is Alrosa's biggest investment project.

The deposit will produce 1.8 million carats of diamonds from 3 million tonnes of ore per year, with a mine life of 2042, according to the project. Four kimberlite pipes have been explored so far: Zapolyarnaya, Deimos, Novinka, and Komsomolskaya-Magnitnaya. They have combined reserves of 64.8 million tonnes of ore with an average grade of 0.6 carats per tonne, or a total of 38.4 million carats.