Alrosa (MCX: ALRS), the world’s top diamond miner by output, has received approval from the regulatory body in Russia to open up and develop reserves at the upper horizons of the International (Inter) underground mine.
According to the company, production is expected to start in Q4 2020. Underground mining at the International kimberlite pipe started in 1999.
The first stage of production implied mining at the depth from 200 m to 560 m. Under the second stage, the extraction to be carried from 155 m to 200 m and at the deep horizons of the deposit.
Current mining plan for 2019-2041 implies mining at the deeper levels down to 1,250 m mark as well as the development of the upper horizons, Alrosa said in a press release.
“The company has already built the third, 347.4 m long shaft to extract these reserves. We expect to mine these reserves for about 10 years,” said Igor Sobolev, Alrosa’s deputy CEO and COO.
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.