On December 20, 2009 a new underground mine was commissioned in the mining town of Aikhal, the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia).
The ceremony was attended by President of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Vyacheslav Shtyrov, other top republican and local administration officials, ALROSA CEO Fyodor Andreev and employees of the diamond mining company.
The new mine is part of the Aikhal mining and processing complex that incorporates within its structure a few locally-based diamond mining and ore treatment facilities. It is the third underground mine put into operation by ALROSA.
The annual design capacity of the underground mine is 500 thousand tons of diamond ore, with an expected mine life of 25 years.
The total amount invested into the underground mine since the beginning of its construction has been RUB 8 886 400 000.
The number of mine personnel currently employed at the mine is 380 people, to be subsequently increased to 600 people after the full design capacity is reached.
The underground mine of Aikhal has its own specific features as compared to ALROSA’s two other underground mines, Mir and Udachny. Its construction has been going on in parallel with diamond production there. In 2009 some 100 thousand tons of ore were produced there.
At the same time ALROSA is expanding production capacities at the already operational Mir Mine and continues building another underground mine at Udachny.
For your reference:
The diamond pipe of Aikhal (Glory) was discovered by geologists of Amakinskaya Exploration Expedition in January 1960. A year later regular mining operations began there, and in August 1961 the first diamonds were recovered at Ore Treatment Plant No. 8.
The pipe was mined by open cast method for almost four decades. In April 1997 a pilot underground mining operation was launched at the exhausted open pit mine of the same name. The diamond production continued through a combination of open pit and underground methods. In 1998 supplementary exploration of the Aikhal pipe was carried out by the Amakinskaya Exploration Expedition of ALROSA, and approbation of new reserves was obtained from the RF State Reserves Committee. In 2000 YakutNiproAlmaz and GiproNickel Research Institutes completed the engineering design to continue mining at Aikhal by underground method.
In December 2008 the first stage of the second start-up facility incorporating some 80 infrastructure facilities was launched.