As mined diamonds
Virtual tour of the famous career Yakut Company "Alrosa" and not only.
Kimberlite pipes, of which mined diamonds - the eruption of subterranean volcanoes that occurred millions of years ago. When exposed to high temperatures and great pressure obtained solid carbon lattice and turned into a gem. Subsequently, the opening of this property will lead to the production of artificial diamonds. But natural stone, of course, is much more valuable.
On the photo - view of the main pit Udachninsky processing plant - "Lucky". Mining operations on the same field were started in 1971 and over the past 25 years, Plant is a leading enterprise in the diamond industry in Russia and one of the largest open-pit mines in the world. In 2010, the share of Udachninsky GOK had 33, 8% of diamond production in terms of value and 12, 5% of mining operations from the total of the group "Alrosa".
The first large-scale commercial production of diamonds began in the south of Africa about a hundred years ago. In Russia, the kimberlite pipes were discovered only in the middle of the last century - in Yakutia. This discovery marked the beginning of "Alrosa" - today the world leader in diamond mining. So, probable reserves of the company amount to about a third of the world's total, and proven enough to sustain current production levels for 25 years without reducing the quality of raw materials. If the figures, the diamond reserves belonging to the "Alrosa" deposits make (according to figures released in May 2011) 1, 23 billion carat under Russian classification (1, 014 billion - proved and 0, 211 billion - probable).
The last five years, annually sent to the exploration of 2, 5 to 3, 5 billion rubles. In 2011, exploration costs amounted to about 4 billion rubles., And in 2012 for these purposes will be spent over 5, 36 billion rubles.
On their fields, "Alrosa" produces about 35 million carats of diamonds per year, being the world's largest producer of the raw material in physical terms: it accounts for about 97% of Russian oil production and 25% of the world. The content of the diamond grade kimberlite pipes are traditionally small - typically a few carats per tonne. Yakutskye field are advantageous in this respect, and are among the most rich in content.
In 2010, the volume of sales of diamonds and diamond raw materials "Alrosa" was $ 3, 48 billion, while in 2011, according to preliminary data, the company sold products worth $ 5 billion - a record number in its history. The company's revenue in the first half of 2011 under IFRS amounted to 66, 15 billion rubles. (+ 3% the previous year), while net profit increased fivefold to 26, 27 billion.
Kimberlite tubes have a conical shape, widening upwardly, so they usually start with testing of quarrying. Project pit depth "Successful" shown in these photographs, -. 600 m to climb from the bottom of the quarry to the surface of dump "serpentine" path overcomes about 10 km long.
But so are mined in quarries. The rig does well, which laid the explosive (pictured - Processes tab). Incidentally, though the diamond is the hardest mineral, it is quite fragile. Therefore sparing technology used in blasting operations to enable to preserve the integrity of the crystals. After the explosion of rock fragments are loaded into dump trucks and transported to the processing plant.
Main companies are located in Western Yakutia, in four districts of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) - Mirny, Lena, Anabar, Nyurbinsky - in one of the harshest regions of the world, with a sharply continental climate, large temperature difference, the permafrost . In a good winter lasts 8 months, sometimes in winter the temperature is lowered to -60C. Therefore, most of the equipment is made to order - a machine adapted for use in low temperature conditions. As a result of work carried out in the fields all year round in all weather conditions. In quarrying the same time it involves a large amount of equipment - wheel loaders, dump trucks, excavators. Heavy-duty trucks in the park, "Alrosa" a total of about 300, with capacity from 40 to 136 tons -. Basically, "BelAZ", there is also a Cat and Komatsu.
After reaching a certain depth within the open pit reserves are exhausted, the development becomes unprofitable open way. In career average are developed to a depth of about 600 m. However kimberlite pipes lie under the ground to a depth of 1, 5 km. For further mining mine construction. Underground mining more costly compared to the quarry, but it is the only cost-effective way to reach the deep-seated reserves. In the future, "Alrosa" is going to significantly increase the share of underground diamond mining. Now the company is completing the development of the open pit "Lucky" and in parallel is building an underground mine. It is expected to be launched in 2014
The cost of the transition to underground mining of diamonds is estimated at $ 3-4 billion, but in the future it should lead to a reduction in costs. Largely due to the construction of underground mines duty "Alrosa" in the acute phase of the crisis in 2008 grew by 64% to 134, 4 billion rubles. But the state company in trouble will not leave: she got into the list of strategic enterprises, non-core natural gas assets VTB bought for $ 620 million, and when the demand for diamonds fell, production of "Alrosa" began to buy Gokhran.
The word "diamond mines" involuntarily imagine a beautiful picture: the cave, the walls of which precious stones are iridescent. In fact a diamond mine - not the most romantic place on earth. The walls did not sparkle with diamond glitter, and looking for ore, generally difficult to assume that there are hidden future "girl's best friend." In the photo - the workers in one of the ventilation of horizontal workings in the future underground mine, depth - 380 meters.
Mine development takes place in the unique geological conditions. In addition to the permafrost, it is complicated by aggressive groundwater, which due to the high salinity are not only able to wash out the walls of mine workings, but also corrode (!) Wheel truck tires. In addition, the fields of "Alrosa" present bitumo- and oil shows that also complicate the extraction of diamonds.
In parallel, under construction onshore facilities of the future mine - for example, ventilation and air heater installations. Underground mine "Lucky" will be one of the largest in the world - its performance is expected to reach 4 million tons of ore per year. This is not the first underground mine companies: 1999 "Alrosa" is working at the mine "International". In addition, the company has introduced an underground mine into operation in August 2009, "The World". It is expected that when all mines are at full capacity, the share of underground mining in the total volume of operations, "Alrosa" will rise to 40%. Just Russia, the company has been producing diamond on 9 and 10 indigenous alluvial deposits located in Yakutia and Arkhangelsk region. In addition, the company owns a diamond mining company "Catoca" in Angola - together with the local state-owned company "ENDIAMA".
How will the underground mining on the "successful" in 2-3 years? For example - the picture is already working mine "Mir". Diamond mining ore under the ground is carried out mainly shearer the sinking (in the photo). The company's staff are studying the possibility of using traditional mining blasthole breaking - when a breed destroy explosives planted in drilled wells. Next scheme is the same: take the ore loaders and taken to the surface, where it reaches the processing plant. Now it will go and we will.
The initial stage of enrichment with diamond ore looks just like any other mineral. Initially the factory get larger pieces of rock the size of a few meters. After primary crushing a jaw or cone crushers ore fed to the wet autogenous mill (pictured), where using water rock fragments up to 1, 5 m are crushed to a size of 0, 5 m or less. Controlling stake, "Alrosa" (51%) is in the federal property (from 2006 to 2008, 10% of the package belonged VTB), 32% owned by the government of Yakutia, 8% ulus control of the Federation. In April 2011, the company was transformed from CJSC to OJSC to be able to raise funds on the market. Since the middle of last year, shares of "ALROSA" are traded on the Russian stock exchanges, but the volume of transactions on them is low because of the low liquidity (on the stock exchange only minority shares hit). In the fall of 2011, the number of shareholders, "Alrosa" entered "Nafta-Moscow" Suleiman Kerimov, skimp on the market for about 1% of the company.
The next step spiral classifiers share raw materials, depending on its size and density. The principle of operation is very simple. Water picks up fine particles and carries the drain. The large particles (up to several centimeters) to carry away the water can no longer - they settle in the lower part of the tank, after which the helix lifts them upwards.
The next stage of enrichment - a roar, so named for the noise that accompanies the work. "Rumble" - a huge vibrating sieve with holes of different sizes, allows you to sort the raw materials for a variety of factions. Separating materials according to size groups necessary because hereinafter each of them will be enriched differently.
Now we have to somehow isolate diamonds from small pieces of ore, obtained after crushing. Pieces of medium-sized ore sent to the jigs and heavy medium enrichment: by water ripple diamond crystals are singled out and settle the heavy fraction. The fine "powder" pnevmoflotatsiyu passes through, during which, interacting with the reactants, small diamond crystals adhere to the foam bubbles. In the next stage, all the raw material will pass the basic process - the separation of X-ray (RLS).
That's just show what happens inside the separator in the process of his work, will not work: radar principle is based on a constant X-ray radiation. Look inside during operation of the separator, to put it mildly, is not safe. If describe in words, the method is based on the unique properties of diamond - it is the only mineral that fluoresces under X-rays. On the conveyor belt inside the separator is constantly moving ground ore is irradiated with X-rays. Once in the irradiation zone falls diamond photocells fixed flash and fluorescent airflow "knocks out" lighteneth fragment to a separate tank.
Of course, the flow of air inside the separator can separate only one small crystal - with him is eliminated, and a certain amount of waste rock. In fact, the entire ore beneficiation process is directed only to have to minimize the amount of "empty" the material and then to facilitate manual handling. And the "hand" in the literal sense of the word: professionals choose crystals, clean them and carry out the so-called "final fine-tuning." No matter how popular today was the desire to automate all production processes in general, but in diamond mining is quite impossible to do without the human factor. The number of employees (in December 2010) - more than 31 000 people.
But whose hand it was.
One way or another, but it is at the Fyodor Andreev, "Alrosa" began to prepare for the IPO, and the company has been included in the privatization program for 2012-2013. Currently, she is waiting for the government's decision on the parameters and terms of privatization. Representatives of Yakutia declares that the Republic does not see obstacles to the privatization of the pack, but insists that the control should remain with the state. Recently, the shareholders agreed that the market will be sold only 14% of the shares (7% of the Federal Property Management Agency and Property of Yakutia), for which it is planned to gain about $ 1 billion. Presumably the accommodation will be held in autumn 2012 or spring 2013 at MICEX-RTS.
from the final finishing shop all rough diamonds sent to the sorting center in peace. Here the raw material is divided by the main groups, and give it an initial evaluation, after which it can be sent for sale through the United Selling Organization "Alrosa".
By the way, about "Alrosa" half of the production is sold outside of Russia. Until recently, the company was selling its diamonds on the world market, using the De Beers monopoly services. However, in early 2009, they stopped cooperating and "Alrosa" has begun reorganizing its sales system, providing sales through direct contracts and the equal treatment of foreign and Russian customers, has worked its customer base and introduced the practice of "long" contracts.
In general, the raw material from each of the fields has its own distinctive features. Experienced experts when looking at a diamond can determine from what is mine, he arrived. But this applies only to general signs. Two identical diamonds does not exist. Because there is no organized exchange trading and diamonds, such as gold or copper - is not a standardized product, every stone has unique characteristics.
This significantly complicates the uniqueness and sorting, and evaluation. When evaluators taking as a basis three characteristics: size, color and purity (absence of inclusions within, transparency). The most expensive stones - "clean water" is absolutely transparent and have no color expression. Each has different characteristics graduation. As a result, depending on the size, color and other parameters obtained about 8,000 possible positions of rough diamonds.
Last on our tours look at "best friends girls".