Alrosa Shows Interest In Arkhangelsk Diamonds

The history of exploitation of the diamond mine named after Grib is a scandalous one: Russian and Canadian diamond miners have for years been quarrelling over what belongs to whom in Verkhotina. But then Alrosa can take a chance and come to the second biggest deposit in Arkhangelsk. Yakutia is believed to be the pivotal Russian diamond field, while in Arkhangelsk there are largely gravel deposits. However, there are also two fundamental diamond deposits there: the one named after Lomonosov, considered to be the largest in Europe (its reserves are estimated to be $12bl.), and the one named after Grib ($5bl.), situated in the Verkhotinsk diamond square. A large-scale exploitation of both has not been started yet. The development of the Lomonosov deposit didn't always go smoothly. For a long time De Beers had been the stockholder of Severoalmaz (which owns a license for the development of the deposit). The international corporation felt discontent with its modest 27% stake and sold it to Alrosa in 2000. Thereafter an announcement came from Alrosa that the Lomonosov dimonds would soon be extracted. There have been no large investments into the project so far, however. The Arkhangelsk diamond deposits need to be developed in an integrated way along with building the general infrastructure, the Alrosa vice-president Sergey Ulin said. But before that Alrosa will have to purchase a stake in the deposit development in Verkhotina from the Canadians who don't seem to be unwilling to sell it. The fact that there have been any negotiations about the Canadian stake purchase has not been confirmed yet. But as things at the Grib deposit stand, it is very likely to happen.