JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Russian diamond miner Alrosa has started removing ore from the Verkhne-Munskoe kimberlite field, in Saskha, to confirm the diamond content as it works towards a 2018 production starting date for the project.
The Verkhne-Munskoe deposit – Alrosa’s largest investment project –contains for kimberlite pipes with an inventory of 38.4-million carats.
Alrosa is moving the ore from the kimberlite field to the No 12 processing plant at the Udachny mining and processing division, which is about 170 km away. The ore is being transported by road, using road trains.
A transport test run was completed on Monday and regular trips started on Thursday. Four road trains, comprising one Scania road train and three Volvo road trains, all with a load capacity of 95 t, will transport the ore to Udachny, where it will be processed.
Alrosa says it will move about 75 000 t of ore to the No 12 plant before the end of the year.
Once the Verkhne-Munskoe deposit reaches design capacity in 2019, the mine will produce about three-million tons of ore a year.
Alrosa expects to net about ₽187.5-billion in revenue over the 20-odd years that the mine will operate.