Alrosa kicks off mining at new diamond field in Siberia

World’s top diamond producer by output Alrosa (MCX:ALRS) said Wednesday it had begun production at its new Verkhne-Munskoye diamond field in eastern Siberia, which Russian President Vladimir Putin said would reinforce the state-controlled firm's position as a world leader.

The Verkhne-Munskoye deposit, which has a 20-year productive life, will partly substitute suspended output at Alrosa's underground Mir mine. 

“The launch of this field will certainly reinforce the positions of Alrosa… as an international leader. It currently accounts for 27 percent of global diamond production,” Putin, who took part in the start-up ceremony via video link, said in an official statement.

The new deposit, which has a 20-year production life, will partly substitute suspended output at Alrosa's underground Mir mine. That operation was flooded when water seeped in from an open-pit mine above it in 2017.

With reserves enough to continue mining operations until 2042, the new field will be mining about 1.8 million carats of diamonds a year for one of Alrosa's existing processing plants located 170 km (106 miles) away from the field.

Earlier this week, the Russian diamond miner joined rival De Beers’ end-to-end diamond blockchain program, aimed at clearing the supply chain of imposters and conflict precious rocks.