ALROSA is completing open-pit mining at the Udachnaya pipe, one of the oldest kimberlite pipes in Western Yakutia.
On 25 July 2015, the official ceremony devoted to the conservation of the Udachny open-pit was held.
The Udachnaya pipe was opened in June, 1955 and has been developed since 1967 by drilling and blasting. Udachny became ALROSA’s largest open-pit. Today, its surface area is 1,600 x 2,000 meters and it is 640 meters deep. About 350 million tonnes of ore containing rough diamonds worth around USD 80 billion were mined throughout the open-pit’s lifetime. For a long time, Udachny was considered as the flagship diamond mine in Western Yakutia, and its output amounted up to 12.8 million tons of ore per year.
In H1 2015, ALROSA conducted the last blasting operations at the Udachny open-pit. Currently, the company is completing the transportation of stockpiled ore. In 2015, the Udachny open-pit mined the last 1.05 million tons of ore (about 1.7 million carats of rough diamonds).
From now on, the Udachnaya pipe will be fully switched to underground mining. The first stage of the Udachny underground mine was commissioned in June 2014. Once its design capacity of 4 million tons of ore per year is reached in 2019, Udachny will become ALROSA’s largest underground mine and one of the largest in the world. In 2015, Udachny underground mine will produce about 0.78 million carats of rough diamonds, and this volume will gradually increase to more than 5 million carats in 2019.
“The Udachny open-pit made a great contribution to ALROSA’s development, and its conservation represents a milestone in the history of the company. However, we feel confident about the future. The Udachny underground mine successfully ramps up capacity, and its indicative planning horizon is 50 years. The Zarnitsa open-pit mine will also gradually increase its output. From 2018, we are planning to bring into operation kimberlite pipes of the Verkhne-Munskoye field. The Udachny mining and processing division will remain one of the key production divisions of ALROSA and play a significant part in the implementation of the company’s long-term development programme which provides for the increase of diamond output to 41 million carats,” said Andrey Zharkov, President of ALROSA, at the official ceremony.