Istok, a new diamond deposit in the polar circle in Yakutia (Russia's autonomy in East Siberia with an area that can accommodate 6 Frances and with population of a little over 1 million) has yielded first diamonds. Experts of Alrosa, Russia's largest diamond producer, have completed start-up operations at a mobile concentrating plant. The first bucket of sand was received and the first batch of diamonds produced, reports Alrosa's press service.
Istok is one of the Ebelyakh group of deposits located in Yakutia's Anabar district. (Yakutia's diamond deposits are among the richest in the world along with deposits in South Africa).
The company adopted a programme of mobile concentrating plants 4 years ago. In 2002-2003, the first plant was tested at the Yras-Yuryakh deposit that is also located within the zone of the Anabar concentrating works' activities.
The mobile concentrating plant will allow to produce up to $20 million worth marketable diamonds within one washing season from June to September, said the press service.
Developing gravel deposits is a rather complicated process as diamonds are deposited along small rivers that may be over 10 km long. Delivering large amounts of sand to a concentrating plant is very costly. Small mobile plants that can travel off roads are therefore very convenient.
As early as in 2005, the Anabar concentrating works, the northernmost diamond producer located behind the polar circle, will boost the production of crude diamonds worth from $30 to $50 million a year.