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Diamond Deposits in Yakutia

25 june 2012

Reserves and resources Allocation

The major part of the diamond reserves (about 80%) and almost half of the world’s proved diamond resources are located on the territory of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) in Russia. Despite the fact that the greater part of deposits lies in the extreme environment of the Far North and is characterized by complicated mining and operating conditions, the diamond grade of ores contained in Yakutia’s kimberlite pipes is normally higher while their quality is comparable with that of other deposits in the world, which makes their development economically efficient.

All the deposits located in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) belong to the Yakutsk diamond-bearing province with the Malo-Botuobinsky, Daldyno-Alakitsky, Anabarsky, Sredne-Markhinsky, Prilensky, Muno-Tungsky, Nizhne-Oleneksky and Morkokinsky diamond-bearing districts being the major ones.

Almost all the Yakutia diamond reserves (93.1%) are concentrated in the kimberlite pipes, and the alluvial diamonds make 6.9% of the approved reserves, with the inferred resources equal to 65% of the total inferred resources registered in the Republic. The diamond grade of the ores mined in the Republic (kimberlite pipes) is normally higher than in the deposits abroad, although by their quality the local diamonds are comparable to those mined at many similar mines accross the world.

As of January 1, 2010 the State Mineral Reserves Register of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) registered 47 deposits, including 17 kimberlites, 30 alluvials, with the total reserves over 1.0 billion carats in Categories А+В+С1 and С2.

The proved balance reserves life in the Republic is 25-30 years at the current mining level and is defined as satisfactory (Tables 1, 2).

Table 1

Major Diamond Deposits in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia)

The table was compiled by the author based on the following data:
1. Government Report “On the State and Utilization of
mineral-Raw Material resources in the Russian Federation in 2010.” “Almazy. IATs “Mineral”, 2011, pp. 273-282.
2. Presentation for investors – Results of 2011. IR Press-Release of OAO ALROSA. May 17, 2012.

Table 2

The state of diamond reserves in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) as of 01.01.2010, %

The table was made by the author based on the data of the Programme “The Social and Economic Development of the Republic of sakha (Yakutia) up to 2025 and the Guidelines up to 2030”.

The development of the rough diamond basis is among the leading lines of activities of the Yakutia geological industry. In future, the diamond geological exploration will focus on localizing, exploration, evaluation and prospecting of potential diamond-bearing areas in the Yakutsk diamondiferous province and conversion of the inferred diamond resources into the commercial category reserves. increase in the diamond reserves begins to show on the proved kimberlite and alluvial deposits, those under exploration and deposits planned for prospecting, and in future, it should compensate for the utilized reserves.

At present, the real prospects in localizing commercial diamond deposits are connected with the Sredne-Markhinsky and Muno-Tungsky diamond-bearing areas, where new kimberlite bodies rich in diamonds can be discovered, as well as buried high-quality diamond placer deposits. Along with the elaboration of discovered deposits, it is expected to intensify the geological and geophysical exploration and the integrated studies are to be carried out along the fault zone containing ores.

It is also planned to increase the diamond exploration works minimum by 3.5% per year of the value of the diamonds mined in the Republic in order to replenish the utilized reserves and discover new promising kimberlite and alluvial deposits. This will allow provide the diamond mining industry with a dependable raw material base and increase the reserves for next 20 to 25 years.

Yuri Danilov, Ph. D., Director of the Department of Regional Subsoil Management Economics, Institute for Regional Economics of the North at Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University


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