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ARKHANGELSK, June 19 (Itar-Tass) - Russian oil giant LUKOIL will start commercial production of diamonds at the Vladimir Grib kimberlite mine in the Arkhangelsk region, northwestern Russia, in October-November, the press service of the regional government told Itar-Tass on Wednesday.
On Tuesday LUKOIL President Vagit Alekperov and Arkhangelsk region governor Igor Orlov made a working trip to the field.
“The Grib Pipe is one of the world’s largest proven kimberlite pipes,” Alekperov said. “In October-November we should launch a processing plant and start the production.”
This is LUKOIL’s first diamond development project.
“We used best diamond development practices of Canada and other countries and brought in advanced equipment,” Alekperov said noting that the field will create around 3,000 jobs.
“In fact, we are creating a new image of the Arkhangelsk region - we are becoming Russia’s diamond-rich province,” Arkhangelsk region governor Igor Orlov said.
Alekperov and Orlov inspected the construction site of a future processing plant, a power generating unit and apartment buildings for employees.
The LUKOIL president chaired a meeting on preparation of the field for commercial production.
The Vladimir Grib kimberlite mine is located 130 kilometers northeast of Arkhangelsk. After the diamond plant reaches its designed capacity, the regional and local budgets will get over 1.5 billion roubles a year.
The field’s reserves are estimated at 100 million carats. The total volume of investments is estimated at $850 million.