ALROSA started to strip overburden at the Botuobinskaya Diamond Pipe.
This is the first phase in developing the deposit to prepare it for mining minerals. The stripping operations will last for three years. Commercial diamond mining at Botuobinskaya is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2015. The diamond pipe will be worked out as an open pit, while its ore will be processed at the existing facilities of Nyurba GOK (mining and concentrating mill). When Botuobinskaya will reach its design capacity of 300,000 tonnes of ore per year, this open-pit mine will annually produce about 1.5 million carats of diamonds.
Botuobinskaya is located within the Nakyn Ore Field, 3 km from the Nyurbinskaya Diamond Pipe currently being mined. Its diamond grade being 5.13 carats per tonne, Botuobinskaya has a diamond reserve exceeding 70 million carats under the JORC standards. The Botuobinskaya diamonds are characterized by a rather high proportion of gem-quality and near-gem-quality stones having a high degree of transparency.
ALROSA has included the mining operations to be launched at Botuobinskaya in its long-term development plan until 2021. It is assumed that this diamond field will eventually make up for dwindling ore production at Nyurbinskaya, where mining is carried out since 2000.