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Alrosa halts diamond mining at two assets

Alrosa’s Jubilee pipe in in Yakutia, northeast Russia. (Image: Alrosa.)

Russia’s Alrosa (MCX: ALRS), the world’s top diamond producer by output, is temporarily suspending production at two assets as demand and sales for diamonds continues to drop.

Major consumers, including China and the United States, are struggling with economic headwinds caused by the global covid-19 pandemic. Extended lockdowns affecting key players in the supply chain, including polishers and top retailers, has only made things worse.

Suspension affects Aikhal underground mine and Zarya open pit, which account for roughly 7% of the company’s diamond output 

The Russian state-controlled miner said the dire state of the market would force it to halt its Aikhal underground mine and Zarya open pit from May 15 to September 30 and to December 30, respectively.

The two assets account for roughly 7% of the company’s diamond output in carat terms. They produced 2.6 million carats of rough diamonds last year.

Personnel of suspended operations and auxiliary services will be partially laid-off, Alrosa said. The remaining employees will be transferred to other assets or stay to keep up maintenance work at the idled operations.

The diamond giant said in March it may revise down its output guidance for 2020, which currently sits at 34.2 million carats. In 2019, it produced 38.5 million carats.