The Verkhne-Munskoye diamond field is located in the Oleneksky District of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), 170 km from the processing plant of ALROSA’s Udachny Mining and Processing Division.
Also taking part in the ceremony were First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Aisen Nikolayev and ALROSA CEO Sergei Ivanov.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues,
First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the launch of the Verkhne-Munskoye diamond field.
There is a lot of hard work ahead of us, although much has been done already. The launch of this field will certainly reinforce the positions of ALROSA, our leading diamond company, as an international leader. It currently accounts for 27 percent of global diamond production. The launch of the new field is an important and positive event not only for the company, but also for Yakutia, the Russian Far East and the rest of Russia.
The Verkhne-Munskoye diamond field will be the main employer for the nearby mining and processing plant and the city of the same name. New jobs will be created, increasing payments to all budgets, including the budget of Yakutia. However, one of the priorities during such projects is environmental protection. I know that the necessary tests have been conducted, yet I ask you to pay special attention to this aspect, along with such issues as health and workplace safety of all those who work or will work at this facility.
It is a huge field. Several kimberlite pipes will be mined there. This project is designed to last until 2040 or 2042. Much will need to be done here. But there are also positive sides to it, because, as I said, this project will contribute to the sustainable development of Yakutia and the whole of the Russian Far East.
I congratulate you on the launch of this huge project and wish you success.
Mr Siluanov, please.
First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov: Thank you, Mr President.
This is, indeed, the first project of this scale in Russia’s contemporary history. The field was discovered over 60 years ago, yet work began here only in 2015. It is true that this field will produce over 2 million carats of diamonds a year, or some 7 percent of ALROSA’s diamond production.
You mentioned the budget. Indeed, we have invested only 5 billion rubles but expect some 180 billion rubles of revenue from this field during its life. Half of this money will go to Yakutia’s budget and will be spent on attaining the goals facing the republic. Importantly, this field will create over 800 new jobs, which is very important for the region.
Overall, we have a positive view on the company’s performance. It has reported solid financial results. It is a highly efficient company that creates new jobs. I think that the launch of the new field is very important for the performance of this major company, a global company with high international standing.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Ivanov, go ahead please. You have the floor.
ALROSA CEO Sergei Ivanov: Mr President,
We are based in the Arctic Circle, 170 kilometres away from the town of Udachny. This is ALROSA’s northernmost fundamental diamond deposit containing more than 44 million carats. We plan to extract up to 3 million tonnes of ore per year for the next 20 years, and to enrich about 2 million carats of diamonds. Due to our company’s technological needs, special trains with a lifting capacity of 95 tonnes were designed, which will transport the ore to the processing plant.
Production at the deposit uses the most advanced technologies and the share of Russian suppliers has been maximised. Total investment in the project will amount to about 60 billion rubles; effectively, 16 billion rubles have already been invested.
With your permission, I will now give the floor to Head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Aisen Nikolayev.
Head of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) Aisen Nikolayev: Mr President, friends,
The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is a region with unique natural, economic and human resources. Today's event once again shows that Yakutia is developing, and is directed towards the future.
I would like to thank ALROSA for using the Far East development mechanisms we are implementing on your instructions, Mr President, to launch a large-scale production in extreme climatic conditions in such a short time. This is more than just another ALROSA production development project, but 800 new jobs for the local people, additional tax revenues, and stable work of ALROSA for decades to come.
It is doubly gratifying that ALROSA complies with all the ethnological and environmental expertise requirements while implementing this project.
We will continue monitoring these issues. During the preparations for launching the project, ALROSA signed an agreement with the national Evenk Oleneksky District of Sakha (Yakutia) to provide annual support in the amount of 100 million rubles to preserve the original habitat of the minorities of the Far North. I am sure that ALROSA will continue to develop for the benefit of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia), and for the benefit of our great Motherland, the Russian Federation. Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Mr Nikolayev, how long have you been serving as the acting head of the republic?
Aisen Nikolayev: Five months, and Mr Ivanov for one year.
Vladimir Putin: I am talking about you. You see, five months, and you already have a chance to help launch such a large project. Moreover, the plant is called Udachny, and the town involved in the project, Udachny [the Russian for “lucky”]. It is a good name. I hope you will be lucky with all your work as well.
Go ahead, please.
Aisen Nikolayev: Thank you, Mr President.
Sergei Ivanov: Mr President,
Please give your go-ahead for the Verkhne-Munskoye diamond field to begin commercial operation and carry out the first explosion.
Vladimir Putin: Go ahead.
I congratulate you and wish success to you and to all the employees of your company. All the best! Thank you.