ALROSA completes first phase of study into kimberlite’s CO2 absorption capacity

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September 16, 2021 – ALROSA has completed the first phase of a study into kimberlite’s ability to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere. The study is set to last until 2023.

Preliminary studies undertaken by ALROSA along with Russia’s leading research centers have shown a degree of interaction between kimberlite and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The discovery of kimberlite ore’s ability to absorb carbon has created the opportunity for diamond mining companies to advance climate initiatives involving CO2 capture and storage.

The preliminary studies focused on the chemical processes that occur in spent ore, and included ore samples in various stages of their lifecycle, such as extraction, processing and post-processing storage. Selected ore samples that had gone through the technological cycle and been placed in tailings storage tanks for a period of between 1 month and ten years were compared with original kimberlite samples extracted from the drill core sample.

Mikhail Dubovichev, Head of ALROSA’s innovation and technology center, said, “The studies on original diamond ore samples are set to continue until 2023, and we are planning to engage leading geochemical and geological research centers in the process. If future research confirms the preliminary data found, we will have established significant potential for compensating greenhouse gas emissions in diamond mining through the ore’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This discovery could mark a new step in the efforts to preserve our planet’s ecosystem.”

The initial results show that the CO2 absorption potential is comparable to, and in some scenarios, can be several times greater than the carbon dioxide emissions of the entire ALROSA Group[1]. Preliminary results, therefore, indicate that CO2 absorption by kimberlite in the Udachnaya pipe could be as high as 80 kg per ton of processed ore, which is almost four times greater than the diamond mining industry’s average annual CO2 emissions.

Polina Anisimova, Chief ecologist at ALROSA, added, “Transport and power generation are the biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in diamond mining. ALROSA Group currently generates around 90% of its power from renewable sources, while its logistics function is replacing traditional liquid fuel with natural gas, enabling a structural reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. However, achieving carbon neutrality today merely by upgrading existing production processes is challenging. ALROSA’s ambitious carbon neutrality goals can only be met through a combined approach that also includes absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere and offset measures.”

Together with the Moscow State Institute of Radio Engineering, Electronics and Automation and the Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, ALROSA experts have authored an article entitled “Potential for Compensating Greenhouse Gas Emissions from ALROSA Group Enterprises by Carbonisation of Processed Kimberlite,” which has been accepted for publication in the ‘Rational Exploitation of Mineral Resources’ scientific journal.

In September 2021, ALROSA presented a sample of kimberlite ore at the Living Matter exhibition, devoted to the evolutionary processes of the planet’s ecosystem, new principles of ecological thinking, and potential forms of coexistence between people, animals, the organic and the inorganic world. The exhibition will be held in the New Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, Russia, from 8th September to 10th October 2021.


Notes to Editors

ALROSA has a strong focus on environmental, social responsibility and governance (ESG) and meets the very highest standards of corporate social responsibility (CSR). The company implements over 500 community projects and nature conservation initiatives every year, allocating around 8% of its annual revenue to them as part of its global ‘Diamonds that Care’ programme. At a level of 20-25 bn RUB per year, ALROSA’s social and environmental investments are comparable in size with its investment in technical retooling, production facilities and infrastructure.

[1] ALROSA Group: PJSC ALROSA and its industrial and transportation subsidiaries. In 2020, direct emissions amounted to 997,000 t of CO2 equivalent.

This page was last updated on 16 September 2021 at 16.02