Russia’s Lukoil is putting its drilling experience to the test as its latest discovery has proven the hardest yet: diamonds.
The oil player has begun the recovery of the precious crystals from the Vladimir Grib field 130 kilometres north-east of the northern city of Arkhangelsk.
Lukoil president Vagit Alekperov was joined by Russian President Vladimir Putin in a ceremony to mark commissioning of the mining complex, which is “among the higher priority investment projects” approved by the Russian leader, the oil company said.
Lukoil is throwing 600 million Russian rubles ($17.5 million) at the project that will incorporate open-pit mining techniques, while the mining complex will have a washing facility with production capacity of around 4.5 million tonnes of ore per year.
There will also be a 26-megawatt energy package, a rotation camp for 700 people, a lab complex, a bank of core samples, environmental protection facilities, effluent treatment facilities, a fire station and mine-rescue team station.
The recovery peak at the field is expected to hit 4.5 million carats per year.
Tax deductions to Lukoil’s budgets during the entire period of the field operation are expected at approximately 30 billion rubles.