Russia holds what is believed to be the world’s largest and richest diamond resources. It ranks first in global diamond production by volume. The country has developed a large and important diamond cutting industry known for its high quality polishing.
State-owned diamond mining company Alrosa produces more natural diamonds than any other company in the world. This is about 29 percent of global production in terms of carats and 95 percent of all diamonds mined in Russia. It operates across nine countries and ten regions of Russia.
Last month, the company sold $325.8 million worth of rough diamonds. This is a 36 percent increase year-on-year. Sales of polished diamonds stood at $8.4 million in money terms.
According to Alrosa, rough and polished diamond sales amounted to more than $4 billion in January-November.
Since the beginning of 2017, Alrosa mined over 20 gemstones with a weight of more than 50 carats. They recovered most of them have been from Jubilee pipe in the republic of Yakutia. Experts say, there is no reason to fear depletion of large diamond deposits in the region within the next 20 years.
By 2025 Alrosa plans to make operational nine new deposits. These are located in Yakutia’s two Arctic regions.
The company also operates the world’s largest open-pit diamond mine. This is the Mir mine in eastern Siberia. It is 1,722 foot deep with a diameter of nearly one mile. The Soviets dubbed Mir the ‘Diamond City’. However, it is reportedly inactive at the moment. Operations started in 1950s and in the following half century the mine yielded more than $17 billion worth of diamonds.
Six years ago, the Russian Academy of Sciences announced finding a large deposit of super hard diamonds. This type of diamond is twice as hard as common gemstones. The deposit was found at the Popigai Crater. The 100 km (60 mile) crater was left by a huge asteroid impact in Siberia 35 million years ago. Soviet scientists uncovered the crater in the 1970s.
“The amount of super-hard diamonds contained in the rocks of the Popigai Crater are ten times bigger than the world’s known reserves. We are speaking about trillions of carats,” said Nikolai Pokhilenko, Director of the Institute of Geology and Mineralogy at the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
According to him, “the first results of research were sufficient to talk about a possible overturn of the entire world market of diamonds.”
Scientists say the raw diamond reserves “would be enough for the entire world for 3,000 years,” adding their use in the manufacturing industry is capable of a technical revolution.
Such huge reserves bring hope the diamond industry in Russia could one day become the key pillar of the country’s economic development along with the energy sector.
Zarina Tsomayeva is a sociologist and business journalist working in English, Arabic, Spanish and Russian. She is from Ossetia and is based in Moscow Russia.
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