MOSCOW – Russian state-controlled diamond miner Alrosa's 2017 production plans remain unchanged despite an accident at its Mir underground mine in eastern Siberia, it said on Monday.
Rescue teams are still searching for eight workers in Alrosa's underground Mir mine in the remote Yakutia region of eastern Siberia which partly flooded on Aug. 4 when water seeped in from an open-pit mine above it.
Alrosa plans to use other mines to compensate for a decline in production from the Mir mine, Igor Sobolev, Alrosa's first deputy CEO, said in a statement.
It was unclear how long the mine will remain shut and how it may affect the company's total production in the future, he said. The mine accounts for about 9% of Alrosa's annual diamond output.
The company, the world's largest producer of rough diamonds in carat terms, plans to produce about 39-million carats of diamonds in 2017. Together with Anglo American's De Beers the two companies produce about half of the world's rough diamonds.
Alrosa said 320 people continued a day and night search for the missing workers.
"The main task, as we currently see it, is to try to save people, that is why rescue operations are continuing and will continue for as long as it is needed and for as long as it is possible in terms of mine conditions," Russian Deputy Prime Minister said in the statement.
Rescue workers planned to reach the possible location of the missing miners in 1.5 to three days, Trutnev said.
The first results of an investigation into the accident are expected in about a month.