Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa has decided to further develop the Aikhal underground mine to 300 meters in depth, making it possible to replenish the raw material base and extend the mine life up to 2044. Implementation of the project to strip and mine the Aikhal pipe reserves at the levels of -100 meters/-400 meters will replenish the miner's reserves by almost 20 million carats and maintain the annual production level of 500,000 tons of ore up to 2044. Originally, commercial resources amounted to 6.2Mt of ore with the date of completion of the mine operation in 2034-2035. Total investment will be approximately RUB 10 billion (US$156.7 million).
Evgeny Denisov, director of Alrosa's Aikhal Mining and Processing Division, noted: "The project is also attractive due to no need for major re-equipment and no need to build new infrastructure, and so on. Development of deep levels and, accordingly, extension of the mine life will allow keeping more than 500 jobs, which is crucial for our company." The -100m main haulage level will be built and put into operation, and the construction of mine openings for underlying beds will start in 2020. The start of the extraction at the new -100m and -400m levels is planned no later than 2027. The decision follows Alrosa's announcement last week that it had launched diamond production at the Zarya pipe, located in the operational zone and 3 km from Aikhal Mining and Processing Division. The new deposit’s expected life exceeds ten years.
The Aikhal underground mine is located in the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic in eastern Siberia, Russia. Aikhal Mining and Processing Division, established in 1986, mines rough diamonds at open-pit mines Yubileyny, Komsomolsky, and underground mine Aikhal. Its share in ALROSA Group’s total diamond output is 30%. Following the results of 2018, Aikhal Mining and Processing Division mined almost 12 million carats worth of more than USD 1.2 billion. The division employs more than 4,500 people.