ALROSA resumed mining operations at Zarnitsa open-pit mine which were suspended in 2020 amid the challenging market environment caused by COVID-19. The ore mined this year will be processed by plant No. 12 of the Udachny Division in 2022.
Zarnitsa operations were suspended in May 2020 following the management decision to counter the effects caused by the pandemic. In March 2021, when the demand for rough diamonds had stabilized, ALROSA decided to recommence mining at the deposit from 1 July.
About 0.7 m tonnes of ore classified as balance reserves is expected to be mined in 2021 and processed in 2022. As before, the ore will be transported to processing plant No. 12 by road trains.
“The resumption of mining operations at Zarnitsa will not affect the ALROSA’s 2021 production outlook, given that ore processing is to start in 2022. Expected production volume in 2022 will be ca. 0.6 m carats. Starting from 2022, the annual ore production will reach 2.5 m tonnes,” said Sergey Pavlenko, head of the Udachny Division.
Discovered in 1954 as the Soviet Union’s first primary diamond deposit, the Zarnitsa kimberlite pipe has been developed intermittently since 1999, with ore processed at Plant No. 12 of the Udachny Division. In 2019 and 2020, the deposit diamond output totaled 0.8 and 0.3 m carats respectively.
In 2016, Zarnitsa brought a unique 207.29-carat rough. This find was cut into the largest in Russian history 100.94-carat polished diamond, named the Spectacle.