ALROSA Unearths Rare Rock Containing 30,000 Diamonds
If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, this diamond is the matron of honor.
On Monday, mining company ALROSA uncovered a rare rock containing an astonishing 30,000 diamonds at its Udachny diamond mine in Russia. The strange red and green stone measures 30 millimeters (the size of an ornament) and has a concentration one million times higher than normal.
Despite the discovery, the diamonds in the rock are too small to be used as gems and instead have been donated to the Russian Academy of Sciences for research.
"The exciting thing for me is there are 30,000 itty-bitty, perfect octahedrons, and not one big diamond," said Larry Taylor, a geologist at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, who presented the findings. "It's like they formed instantaneously."
After the initial scanning of the rock with X-rays, scientists found the diamonds inside the rock measure just 1mm and are octahedral in shape. The red and green coloring signifies it comes from larger crystals of garnet, olivine and pyroxene.
The findings will help provide scientists with important clues to Earth’s geologic history as well as the origin of these prized gemstones.
"The associations of minerals will tell us something about the genesis of this rock, which is a strange one indeed," Taylor told Live Science.
"The [chemical] reactions in which diamonds occur still remain an enigma.”
X-rays from the rock suggest the diamonds crystallized from fluids that escaped from subducted oceanic crust, likely composed of a dense rock called periodtite.
The average diamond ore average one to six carats per ton. A carat is measured by weight (not size) and is roughly equal to one-fifth of a gram, or 0.007 ounces.
Based in Russia, ALROSA is comprised of a group of diamond mining companies and is currently the largest diamond mining company in the world.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.