Alrosa: Mining unlikely for huge Russian deposit
Moscow--Russian mining giant Alrosa has confirmed reports that there is a large previously unannounced deposit of industrial diamonds in Siberia, but says that the find is not necessarily financially feasible for mining.
National Jeweler contacted Alrosa on Tuesday after reports surfaced of the Russian government declassifying information on “trillions of carats” of diamonds discovered beneath a 35-million-year-old asteroid crater called Popigai Astroblem in eastern Siberia.
According to a blog by the Christian Science Monitor, the diamond field had been discovered in the 1970s but was kept under wraps because the country’s other diamond operations were already profitable in a market that was tightly controlled at the time.
CSM also reported that the find was so vast that it could supply the world for another 3,000 years with diamonds that are “twice as hard” as normal diamonds, and would “shake world gem markets to their core.”
In email to National Jeweler, an Alrosa spokeswoman verified that this so-called impact deposit does exist and was indeed discovered in the 1970s. She notes, however, that the diamonds are not gem quality and there is no connection with the jewelry business.
While the diamonds probably could be used for industrial purposes, it likely wouldn’t be a profitable venture, given the remote location of the find and the ability to grow diamonds for industrial uses.
“There are a lot of synthetic technical diamond producers in the market so the market demand for additional volumes of technical diamonds should be examined,” the spokesperson wrote. “Besides, it is not kimberlite row, hard to extract and located in a territory with no infrastructure, so this is also a question of mining technologies and profitability.”
Forbes made similar observations in an article published on Tuesday.