World's Largest Diamond Deposit is About to be Mined
The world’s top diamond producer by output, Alrosa, has announced that it has begun production at its new Verkhne-Munskoye diamond field in eastern Siberia. Alrosa is a partially state-owned diamond mining company known for having the largest rough diamond reserves in the world.
Over 35 million years ago, an asteroid about 5 to 8 kilometres in diameter, crashed into the area that is now known as the Taymyr Peninsula of northern Siberia, Russia. The impact was so powerful that it instantly melted thousands of cubic kilometres of rock. The heat and pressure produced by this impact greatly exceeded what is required for the formation of diamonds at the impact point. The result are diamonds that are twice as hard as normal that could be used for industrial purposes but not for jewellery.
“The resources of super-hard diamonds contained in rocks of the Popigay crypto-explosion structure are ten times bigger than the world’s entire known reserves. We are talking about trillions of carats. By comparison, the known reserves in Yakutia today are estimated at one billion carats.”
- Nikolai Pokhilenko, head of the Geological and Mineralogical Institute in Novosibirsk
The grain size and abrasiveness of the impact diamonds would make them particularly useful for industrial use, in particular metal-cutting. Experts have raised questions in regards to how profitable it would be to mine the stones. Most diamonds for technological use are grown in laboratories and industrial stones are usually only extracted from the ground as a by-product of mining for much more lucrative gemstone diamonds.
Regardless, Alrosa as of Wednesday October 31st, 2018 has stated that production of the diamond field has commenced. Russian President, Vladimir Putin also believes in the success of the project, which is said to have enough reserves to continue mining operations until 2042, with a estimated profit of 1.8 million carats of diamonds a year.
“The launch of this field will certainly reinforce the positions of Alrosa… as an international leader. It currently accounts for 27 percent of global diamond production”
- Vladimir Putin, Russian President