Russian mining company Alrosa has unveiled a revised production plan for the International underground diamond mine, as part of a tougher approach to health and safety management.
Despite the revised output plan, Alrosa’s production plan for this year remains unchanged at 36.6 million carats.
However, production at International will fall by 0.5-0.8 million carats per year between 2019 and 2022.
The revised output plan is the result of an audit that was conducted following the Mir mine accident last year.
The company revised the construction project for the International mine and decided to suspend the construction of deep mine levels below 800m and reduce the intensity of mine footage for safety reasons.
Alrosa first deputy CEO Igor Sobolev said: “This decision means changes in sequence of mining and preparing the ore body. Now we are starting planning for the next years, during which we will consider the existing options to intensify production at other fields and balance the production plan.
“We will also work to reduce the time required for the implementation of the necessary activities at the International mine.”
The diamond exploration firm expects to resume mining at lower levels at the end of this year when studies will be undertaken and expert recommendations will be received.
As per preliminary estimates, Alrosa will fully restore mining operations below the 800m level in 2023, allowing the underground mine to return to its designed capacity of 500,000t.
Alrosa CEO Sergey Ivanov said: “In our decision to reduce pace and output we were guided by new stricter rules governing health and safety system. Our employees’ health and safety are an absolute priority for us.”
Located 16km south-west of the town of Mirny, the underground mine was commissioned in 1999 and produced 3.7 million carats of rough diamonds last year.