The exploration of the Aikhal underground mine allowed ALROSA to decide on the 300 meters deeper development of the mine, which will significantly replenish the resource base and extend the life of the mine until 2044.
The management of the Сompany approved the project “Drilling in and flowback of the Aikhal pipe reserves at -100 meters / -400 meters.” The volume of capital investments will be up to 10 billion rubles (this amount of investments corresponds to the previously planned in the long-term program of March 18, 2019). The project implementation will allow replenishing the raw material base of the mining and processing plant and the ALROSA Company by almost 20 million carats, as well as maintaining the level of production in the amount of 500 thousand tons of ore annually until 2044. Initially, the balance reserves amounted to 6.2 million tons of ore with the end of field life in 2034-2035.
“The attractiveness of the project is also that there will not be a need for large-scale re-equipment, there is no need to build new infrastructure, and so on. The development of deep levels and, accordingly, the extension of the mine's life will save more than 500 jobs, which is extremely important for our Company," Director of the Aikhal Mining and Processing Division of ALROSA, Evgeny Denisov, stressed.
In 2020, the main haulage level of 100 meters will be completed and put into operation, and construction of the main opening at lower levels will begin. The start of the reserves extraction at new levels (100 meters / 400 meters in marks) is provided no later than 2027.
The Aikhal Mining and Processing Division, founded in 1986, is involved in diamond production at the Yubileiny, Komsomolsky open-pit mines, as well as at the Aikhal underground mine. The share of the division in the total diamond output of the ALROSA Group is 30%. According to the results of 2018, the Aikhal Division produced nearly 12 million carats worth over $ 1.2 billion. It employs 4,5 thousand people.
Since 1999, the development of the Aikhal pipe by underground mining has been carried out according to the project of access to the ore body up to the level of -100 meters. In 2017, deep levels were explored at -100 / - 400 meters from the pit and 0 meters level. The results obtained allowed to consider options for access to the ore body below - 100 meters.