Russian diamond-mining giant ALROSA and its partners may commence commercial production at the Luaxe diamond deposit in Angola after 2020, "The test drilling is slated for late 2018 - early 2019. However, if we are talking about industrial production, it will certainly happen after 2020," said ALROSA President Sergey Ivanov. “Typically, the development of any major deposit from the project stage to the industrial production stage takes about between four and seven years”, Ivanov said. “We may do it a little bit faster, because the climate and geological conditions are not as difficult as in Yakutia.”
Works at the Luaxe deposit are already under way, “The fact that as of today we have no final project concept does not mean that the Luaxe project has stalled. Works will be carried out there throughout the entire year," Ivanov said. Developing costs would be reduced by using existing capacities of Catoca Ltd. Mining Co, where ALROSA now owns 32.8%. The Russian company's supervisory board approved the acquisition of another 8.2% of shares in Catoca for $70 million in September. Catoca, in which ALROSA and Endiama will each own 41%, has a 50.5% in the Luaxe project, and ALROSA will acquire another 8% directly.
The Luaxe deposit is considered one of the most promising in terms of production volumes. Resources of the Luele kimberlite pipe are estimated at 465 million carats of diamonds (450 million tons of diamond-bearing ore). Investment in the initial stage of developing the Luaxe project is expected to total about $100 million, but the stages of the project and specific timeframes for carrying them out will not be clear until after the feasibility study is done.