The first ore from the open-pit Zapolyarny mine, one of four pipes at the Verkhne-Munskoe kimberlite field in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), was delivered to the stockpile of the processing plant No. 12 at Udachny Mining and Processing Division. The company plans to remove a total of 75,000 tons of ore from the new deposit - ALROSA’s largest investment project - before the end of the year. All the transported ore will be processed at processing plant No. 12. Experts will confirm the diamond content in the ore and develop the processing technology required for the start of commercial operation of the deposit, scheduled for 2018.
The deposit is located 170 kilometers from Udachny Mining and Processing Division. Four kimberlite pipes have been explored so far: Zapolyarnaya, Deimos, Novinka, Komsomolskaya-Magnitnaya. Their aggregate inventory is 64.8 million tons of ore with the average grade of 0.6 carat per ton, totaling 38.4 million carats. The deposit development period is until 2041, with commissioning, as noted, scheduled for 2018. Once the design capacity is reached in 2019, ALROSA expects it will produce 3 million tons of ore per year. The budget revenue for the entire period of mining is expected to reach $3.25 billion (RUB 187.5 billion), and the project is expected to create more than 700 new jobs in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
On October 2, the Scania road train had its first test run to confirm that the equipment and the road are ready for the removal of ore. Since October 4, four road trains have started regular trips: one Scania road train and three Volvo road trains, all with the load capacity of 95 tons. The road train covers the distance from the motor depot of Udachny Mining and Processing Division to Zapolyarny open-pit mine in 5-6 hours non-stop on the average, the return trip takes the same time.
Meanwhile, in Yakutia
According to Russian news agency Interfax, lower diamond production volumes are expected next year in Yakutia due to the accident at the Mir mine, said Alexei Struchkov, Yakutia's first deputy prime minister in a report on the forecast social and economic development of Yakutia in 2018-2020 (baseline scenario) at a meeting of the regional government on Monday. "Diamond production is expected to fall 5.3 percentage points in 2018 from the level in 2017; in the future - 1.5% annually. The main reason for this is the accident at the Mir mine. The start of work at the Verkhne-Munskoye deposit has been included in the forecast," Struchkov said. He said that after revised forecast indicators presented by ALROSA in view of the accident at the Mir mine, the company is expected to make $2.36 billion (136 billion rubles) in 2018.