Alrosa has commenced commercial diamond production at its Verkhne-Munskoye diamond field in Yakutia, Russia, in an effort to increase the group’s production and compensate for the decreased output at other projects.

The company noted that the new diamond field has enough reserves to support mining operations at least 20 years, with annual production of 1.8 million carats of diamonds.

An official ceremony was held to mark the production start-up. The event was attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin and First Deputy Prime Minister Anton Siluanov.

The commencement of mining operations at the Verkhne-Munskoye diamond field comes after three years of preparation works, including overburden removal, construction of infrastructure facilities, and the procurement of special equipment.

“Thanks in no small part to this project, Alrosa Group will be able to increase its production volume next year.”

The diamond field is located around 170km from the existing infrastructure facilities, including a processing plant of the company’s Udachny Mining and Processing Division (MPD).

Alrosa Group CEO Sergey Ivanov said: “Verkhne-Munskoye field will compensate the decrease in production at other facilities, in particular, it will replace the retired capacities of Mir. Thanks in no small part to this project, Alrosa Group will be able to increase its production volume next year.

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“The reserves of the field will provide additional workload for processing plant No. 12 of Udachny MPD and ensure its continuous work and stability in the life of almost 12 thousand residents of Udachny.”

The company invested RUR16bn ($243.4m) to undertake works, leading up to the production start-up. The total estimated project investment for the whole period of the field development is projected to be RUR60bn ($912.8m).