Alrosa resumes operations at International mine

The International mine in Russia. Image from Alrosa.

Alrosa (MCX: ALRS) announced on Tuesday that operations have restarted at its International underground diamond mine near Minry, Russia.

The world’s top diamond producer by output suspended works at the mine last week, after several employees tested positive for covid-19.

The mine’s operations have resumed in a two-shift mode so mine staff don’t come into contact with contractors working at surface facilities.

“This decision was made as the majority of workers and contractors were tested negative for covid-19,” the company said in a press release.

“Employees of the mine waiting for the confirmation of test results remain furloughed. The company’s management also notes that regular testing for coronavirus will continue until the stabilization of the covid-19 situation on the national level.”

Last month, Alrosa had to suspend production at another two assets. That decision, however, was based on the dire state of the diamond market and not the pandemic

International is located the subarctic Russian republic of Sakha.

It opened in 1999 and yields some of the world’s highest diamond grades, at 8.09 carats per tonne.

It produced 2.2 million carats in 2019, contributing around 6% of the company’s total output.

Last month, Alrosa had to suspend production at another two assets. That decision, however, was based on the dire state of the diamond market and not the pandemic.

The state-controlled miner said in March it may revise down its output guidance for 2020, which it did last month. Now Alrosa expects to produce between 28 and 31 million carats. In 2019, it produced 38.5 million carats.

Russia’s overall case count stands at 647,849, the third-highest in the world, with 9,320 deaths.

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