In 2011 ALROSA Group enterprises diamond production amounted to 34.6 million carats. Following the results of the year, ALROSA Group aggregate rough diamond sales totaled USD 4,454.8 million, which is a record-breaking amount throughout the Company's history. ALROSA’s cutting and polishing branch Brillianty ALROSA produces and sells some USD 140.0 million worth of polished diamonds on an annual basis. At its production facilities ALROSA employs the most advanced achievements of international science and state-of-the art technology and relies on its own unique technological experience of mining in the harsh climate of the Russian Far North. ALROSA has drawn up its development strategy for the period until 2018.
Reserves and Exploration
The main objective of the present stage, set by the company’s management for its exploration divisions, is the increment in diamond reserves through discovery of new deposits — primary kimberlite pipes and diamondiferous placers. The priority is to be given to the territory of Western Yakutia. Prospecting, exploration, research and related types of exploration operations are being carried out by subdivisions of the exploration complex of the company in the territories of the five constituent entities of the RF: the Republic of Sakha, Irkutsk Region, Arkhangelsk Region, the Republic of Karelia, and the Murmansk Region.
Today ALROSA carries out prospecting and exploration in dozens of sites in six diamondiferous areas of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia):
- Sredniaya Markha basin;
- Muna-Tyung basin;
- Malaya Botuobia basin;
- Lena basin;
- as well as in the Russian North-West and in the Republic of Angola.
The main volume of research that has been performed is related to diamonds. In addition, the regional geological and geophysical surveys, monitoring and environmental protection measures are carried out.
The geologists of Yakutskgelogiya, later merged with ALROSA, also discovered and explored on the territory of Yakutia: the unique Tomtor deposit of rare metals, Severo-Nelbinskoye and Machchobinskoye oil and gas deposits. Despite the high efficiency of the exploration that has already been carried out, the prospects for discovery of new diamond deposits in Western Yakutia still remain very promising.
Hope is pinned on the expansion of exploration efforts in the so-called «covered» areas, within which exploration targets are covered with a thick layer of overlying formations of various genesis.
For the last five years the company has annually allocated from 2.5 to 3.5 billion rubles for exploration. ALROSA is Russia’s largest company in terms of hard mineral exploration carried out.
ALROSA mines rough diamonds from the primary and placer deposits in Russia, mainly using the most efficient open-pit method. This will remain the predominant method in the future, although the proportion of underground mining operations, which commenced in 1999 with bringing into service the first underground diamond mine in Russia called the «International», will gradually increase, and by 2015 will account for almost 40% when the new underground mines of «Aikhal», «Mir» and «Udachy» are operating at full capacity.
Intensive open-pit mining of primary deposits of Yakutia, which are not only high-grade but also rich in reserves, provided an annual increase production.
In the early 1990s rough diamond production and sales reached USD 800 million, and over the last decade this has tripled.
The company’s open-pit mines in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in their combined mining and geological characteristics and parameters are unique and have no parallels in the world. Great depths (up to 500–600 m), permafrost 300–500 m thick, the presence of the high-pressure underground brines (with salinity of up to 400 g per liter), bitumen and oil contaminations — all these are no hindrance to effective mining.
ALROSA's underground mines are equally complex and unique. For the construction of the three new mines («Mir», «Aikhal», «Udachny»), which is being actively pursued at present, more than USD 2.5 billion will be allocated and spent over 10 years, with the total capacity of the mines reaching 6 million tons of ore per annum.
In 2009, the start-up complex of the «Mir» underground mine was commissioned. Full operations of Phase 1, with a planned capacity of 500,000 tons, will start in 2011. Then in 2012, the mine will reach its design capacity of 1 million tons of ore per annum. The second start-up complex of the «Aikhal» underground mine with a panned capacity of 200,000 tons was put into operation in 2009. In 2012, it will reach its design capacity of 500,000 tons of ore per annum. The «Udachny» underground mine will be one of the largest in the world — its final production will reach 4 million tons of ore per annum. Construction of the mine began in 2004. In 2012, the first start-up complex was commissioned, and mining will start. In 2014 the production of 1.3 million tons of ore per annum is expected.
The total capacity of the ALROSA mining complex reaches 32 million tons of ore and gravels per annum. In 2010, for example, the companies of the ALROSA Group processed about 37 million cubic meters of broken rock mass. The experience acquired in Yakutia in the development of primary deposits allows ALROSA to actively explore new regions like the Lomonosov diamond deposit in the Arkhangelsk Region, and kimberlite pipes in Angola.
ALROSA offers its technological advantages and know-how to participate in diamond exploration and mining in Angola, the DRC, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Canada and other countries.