On June 27, 2014 ALROSA Group commissioned Udachny underground mine. Reaching its design capacity of 4 million tons of ore per year, Udachny will become the largest underground diamond mine in Russia and one of the largest worldwide.
The underground mine is expected to reach its design capacity in 2019. In the second half of 2014 diamond mining at Udachny will be ancillary to the ore body development. Commercial production is to start in 2015 to reach 2.4-3.0 million tons of ore per year by 2016, and 4 million tons per year by 2019.
The underground project is estimated to mine about 72.3 million tons of ore by 2034. The additional prospective resources are estimated at 72.8 million tons of ore. Once the design capacity is reached, Udachny underground mine will be able to provide over 5 million carats of diamonds per year.
Open-pit mining at Udachnaya kimberlite pipe, one of ALROSA’s largest deposits discovered in 1955, started in 1971. Rough diamonds mined at Udachnaya throughout its operation totaled some USD 80 billion.
Open-pit mining at Udachnaya pipe is expected to be fully completed in 2015, until then underground mining and operations in the open-pit mine will be parallel.
Udachny is the forth in succession and the largest underground mine operated by ALROSA. Nowadays ALROSA operates the International and Aikhal underground mines with the design capacity of 500 thousand tons of ore per year and the Mir underground mine with the design capacity to reach 1 million tons of ore per year.
‘An ambitious program for the construction of underground mines is an integral part of ALROSA’s development strategy aiming to keep its world’s leading position in terms of rough diamond mining and ensure the diamond mining growth up to over 40 million carats. Launch of the Udachny underground mine will allow the Company to maintain stable volumes of diamond production in Western Yakutia for many years,’ Fedor Andreev, ALROSA’s CEO, said at the official start-up ceremony.