The world’s top diamond producer by output, Alrosa (MCX:ALRS), ran an experiment at its Zapolyarnaya pipe, which is a part of the Verkhne-Munskoye deposit in the west of Yakutia, and found that the area has the potential to become one of its richest in large diamonds deposits.
The test, which took place from March 11 to March 15, 2019, consisted in feeding the processing plant N12 in the town of Udachny with ore exclusively from the northwestern part of the Zapolyarnaya pipe. Besides analyzing the colour characteristics of diamonds and the cost of one carat in this particular part of the pipe, those conducting the research activity discovered that the grades of the rocks seemed to be higher than expected.
During the five days that the experiment lasted for, Alrosa’s experts extracted 239 diamonds larger than 8 carats. This is more than 3.5% of the number of diamonds unearthed throughout the assessment period.
According to Andrey Cherepnov, the company’s Chief Engineer, there were two gem-quality stones weighing 51.15 and 70.67 carats among the extracted large diamonds. Four massive diamonds of lower quality were also mined, the largest one weighing 268 carats.
The Verkhne-Munskoye deposit, situated 170 kilometres from the town of Udachny and Alrosa’s largest investment project, hosts four kimberlite pipes, Zapolyarnaya, Deimos, Novinka, and Komsomolskaya-Magnitnaya. Earlier this year, it produced two large high-quality diamonds weighing 51.49 and 98.8 carats and it is expected to generate about 1.8 million carats of rough diamonds per year for more than 20 years.