Russia the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres, Russia is by far or by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, the ninth most populous, with about 146.77 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77 % of the population live in the European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Poland, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, China and North Korea, it shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U. S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.
The East Slavs emerged as a recognizable group in Europe between the 3rd and 8th centuries AD. Founded and ruled by a Varangian warrior elite and their descendants, the medieval state of Rus arose in the 9th century. In 988 it adopted Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Rus' disintegrated into a number of smaller states; the Grand Duchy of Moscow reunified the surrounding Russian principalities and achieved independence from the Golden Horde. By the 18th century, the nation had expanded through conquest and exploration to become the Russian Empire, the third largest empire in history, stretching from Poland on the west to Alaska on the east. Following the Russian Revolution, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic became the largest and leading constituent of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the world's first constitutionally socialist state; the Soviet Union played a decisive role in the Allied victory in World War II, emerged as a recognized superpower and rival to the United States during the Cold War.
The Soviet era saw some of the most significant technological achievements of the 20th century, including the world's first human-made satellite and the launching of the first humans in space. By the end of 1990, the Soviet Union had the world's second largest economy, largest standing military in the world and the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, twelve independent republics emerged from the USSR: Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and the Baltic states regained independence: Estonia, Lithuania, it is governed as a federal semi-presidential republic. Russia's economy ranks as the twelfth largest by nominal GDP and sixth largest by purchasing power parity in 2018. Russia's extensive mineral and energy resources are the largest such reserves in the world, making it one of the leading producers of oil and natural gas globally; the country is one of the five recognized nuclear weapons states and possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia is a great power as well as a regional power and has been characterised as a potential superpower. It is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and an active global partner of ASEAN, as well as a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the G20, the Council of Europe, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the World Trade Organization, as well as being the leading member of the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Collective Security Treaty Organization and one of the five members of the Eurasian Economic Union, along with Armenia, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan; the name Russia is derived from Rus', a medieval state populated by the East Slavs. However, this proper name became more prominent in the history, the country was called by its inhabitants "Русская Земля", which can be translated as "Russian Land" or "Land of Rus'". In order to distinguish this state from other states derived from it, it is denoted as Kievan Rus' by modern historiography.
The name Rus itself comes from the early medieval Rus' people, Swedish merchants and warriors who relocated from across the Baltic Sea and founded a state centered on Novgorod that became Kievan Rus. An old Latin version of the name Rus' was Ruthenia applied to the western and southern regions of Rus' that were adjacent to Catholic Europe; the current name of the country, Россия, comes from the Byzantine Greek designation of the Rus', Ρωσσία Rossía—spelled Ρωσία in Modern Greek. The standard way to refer to citizens of Russia is rossiyane in Russian. There are two Russian words which are commonly
Alrosa is a Russian group of diamond mining companies that specialize in exploration, mining and sale of diamonds. The company leads the world in diamond mining by volume. Mining takes place in Western Yakutia, the Arkhangelsk region, Africa. Alrosa is Russia's leading diamond company accounting for 95% of country's diamond production and 27% of the global diamond extraction; the company's headquarters are located in Moscow. The history of Alrosa dates back to 1954, when the first primary deposit of diamonds in the Soviet Union, the kimberlite pipe Zarnitsa, was found. In 1955 the Mir kimberlite pipe and the Udachnaya pipe were discovered. A total of fifteen primary diamond sources were found in 1955. In 1957, a decision was made to begin mining and production operations on alluvial and ore deposits in Yakutia. To manage the facilities construction and subsequent operations, the Yakutalmaz group of companies was established with headquarters in Mirny; the first commercial-grade diamonds were recovered the same year.
Two years the Soviet Union sold the first shipment of diamonds on the world market. For the most part during the Soviet period, the diamond mining industry developed on the basis of the Mir open-pit mine and adjacent alluvial deposits. In those years its main open-pit mines, processing plants and related energy generating facilities were put into operation. In 1960, the Djomolungma and Chimyan was discovered, in 1969, the International kimberlite pipe. In 1963, the first sales contracts between the USSR and De Beers group were signed. In 2009 this cooperation was brought to an end as contrary to European Union competition laws in compliance with a decision of the European Commission. Now Alrosa independently distributes its rough diamond production on the world market. Through 1980, rapid development of primary deposits continued in Aikhal township on the basis of the Jubilee pipe and in Udachny town. Today the Udachny open-pit mine is one of the largest open-pit mines in the world. Alrosa closed joint-stock company was set up according to Presidential Decree №158C of the President of Russia "On the Establishment of the Almazy Rossii-Sakha Joint Stock Company" signed on 19 February 1992, based on NPO Yakutalmaz, a former USSR state-owned diamond mining company.
In 2011, Alrosa was reorganized as an open joint-stock company with free float of Alrosa's shares on financial markets. In July 2007, Verkhne-Munskoye diamond field in Yakutia was discovered with an estimated value of about $3.5 billion. In August 2009, during the recent financial crisis, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced the Russian government, via Gokhran, would buy $1 billion in uncut diamonds from Alrosa; this was to support the Russian diamond mining industry while avoiding saturation in the global diamond market and thus further depression of diamond prices. The diamond mining industry is critical to the Yakutia economy. On 28 October 2013, the company carried out the IPO; the Russian government and the Republic of Sakha sold a combined 14% stake, while Alrosa offered about 2% in treasury stock. U. S. investors were the biggest buyers of the shares, purchasing up to 60% of the stake, 24% got European investors, Russian investors accounted for about 14%. Investment funds Oppenheimer Funds Inc. and Lazard Ltd. took part in the IPO and bought over 2% of the stake.
Alrosa raised $1.3 billion in share sales. In 2016, Alrosa was ranked as being among the 12th best of 92 oil and mining companies on indigenous rights in the Arctic. In 2017, ALROSA was ranked among the top three in the environmental responsibility rating of the Russian mining and smelting companies; the rating was developed by the World Wildlife Fund, United Nations Development Programme, Global Environment Facility, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation. In June 2017, Memorandum of Cooperation between PJSC ALROSA and Gem & Jewelry Export Promotion Council was signed in the scope of India-Russia Summit with the participation of the Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In June 2017, ALROSA entered Top-5 of companies with sustainable development, according to "Polar Index". “Polar Index” is the first and only specialized rating in Russia of companies whose geography of activities affects the Arctic zone of Russia. According to the results of the research conducted by PwC in 2017, ALROSA is an absolute leader in terms of investments in social programs directing to social spending on average 2.8% of its revenue.
In January 2018, ALROSA entered the list of Top-10 companies with the highest transparency index in the framework of the study "Transparency in Corporate Reporting", prepared by Transparency International - Russia. ALROSA is the sector's largest public diamond mining company, its public float is 34%, with 33% owned by the Russian Federation. The Company’s market capitalization was RUB 553 billion in 2017. On 13 March 2017, Sergey Ivanov was elected as the president of ALROSA. Since 11 January 2018, senior leadership position was renamed into "chief executive officer - chairman of the executive committee"; the main production facilities are concentrated in Western Yakutia and the Arkhangelsk region. In total Alrosa is developing 27 fields; the Company has a diversified production base consisting of 16 alluvial deposits. Primary deposits are developed both open-pit, alluvial operations and underground mining."Mining". Alrosa. Retrieved 30 August 2018. On the territory of the Republic of Sakha Alrosa has four mining and processing divisions - Mirny, Udachny, Nyurba.
The rest of deposits are developing through subsidia
The Arctic Circle is one of the two polar circles and the most northerly of the five major circles of latitude as shown on maps of Earth. It marks the northernmost point at which the centre of the noon sun is just visible on the December solstice and the southernmost point at which the centre of the midnight sun is just visible on the June solstice; the region north of this circle is known as the Arctic, the zone just to the south is called the Northern Temperate Zone. As seen from the Arctic, the Sun is above the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once per year and below the horizon for 24 continuous hours at least once per year; this is true in the Antarctic region, south of the equivalent Antarctic Circle. The position of the Arctic Circle is not fixed, its latitude depends on the Earth's axial tilt, which fluctuates within a margin of more than 2° over a 41,000-year period, due to tidal forces resulting from the orbit of the Moon. The Arctic Circle is drifting northwards at a speed of about 15 m per year.
The word arctic comes from the Greek word ἀρκτικός and that from the word ἄρκτος. The Arctic Circle is the southernmost latitude in the Northern Hemisphere at which the centre of the sun can remain continuously above or below the horizon for twenty-four hours. Directly on the Arctic Circle these events occur, in principle once per year: at the June and December solstices, respectively. However, because of atmospheric refraction and mirages, because the sun appears as a disk and not a point, part of the midnight sun may be seen on the night of the northern summer solstice up to about 50 minutes south of the Arctic Circle; that is true at sea level. Only four million people live north of the Arctic Circle due to the climate. Tens of thousands of years ago, waves of people migrated from eastern Siberia across the Bering Strait into North America to settle; the largest communities north of the Arctic Circle are situated in Russia and Sweden: Murmansk, Tromsø, Kiruna. Rovaniemi in Finland is the largest settlement in the immediate vicinity of the Arctic Circle, lying 6 km south of the line.
In contrast, the largest North American community north of the Arctic Circle, has 5,000 inhabitants. Of the Arctic communities in Canada and the United States, Alaska is the largest settlement with about 4,000 inhabitants; the Arctic Circle is 16,000 km long. The area north of the Circle is about 20,000,000 km2 and covers 4% of Earth's surface; the Arctic Circle passes through the Arctic Ocean, the Scandinavian Peninsula, North Asia, Northern America, Greenland. The land within the Arctic Circle is divided among eight countries: Norway, Finland, the United States, Canada and Iceland; the climate inside the Arctic Circle is cold, but the coastal areas of Norway have a mild climate as a result of the Gulf Stream, which makes the ports of northern Norway and northwest Russia ice-free all year long. In the interior, summers can be quite warm, while winters are cold. For example, summer temperatures in Norilsk, Russia will sometimes reach as high as 30 °C, while the winter temperatures fall below −50 °C.
Starting at the prime meridian and heading eastwards, the Arctic Circle passes through: Terra Incognita: Exploration of the Canadian Arctic—Historical essay about early expeditions to the Canadian Arctic, illustrated with maps and drawings Temporal Epoch Calculations ©2006 by James Q. Jacobs Download: Epoch v2009.xls Useful constants" See: Obliquity of the ecliptic
Diamond is a solid form of the element carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal structure called diamond cubic. At room temperature and pressure, another solid form of carbon known as graphite is the chemically stable form, but diamond never converts to it. Diamond has the highest hardness and thermal conductivity of any natural material, properties that are utilized in major industrial applications such as cutting and polishing tools, they are the reason that diamond anvil cells can subject materials to pressures found deep in the Earth. Because the arrangement of atoms in diamond is rigid, few types of impurity can contaminate it. Small numbers of defects or impurities color diamond blue, brown, purple, orange or red. Diamond has high optical dispersion. Most natural diamonds have ages between 1 billion and 3.5 billion years. Most were formed at depths between 150 and 250 kilometers in the Earth's mantle, although a few have come from as deep as 800 kilometers. Under high pressure and temperature, carbon-containing fluids dissolved minerals and replaced them with diamonds.
Much more they were carried to the surface in volcanic eruptions and deposited in igneous rocks known as kimberlites and lamproites. Synthetic diamonds can be grown from high-purity carbon under high pressures and temperatures or from hydrocarbon gas by chemical vapor deposition. Imitation diamonds can be made out of materials such as cubic zirconia and silicon carbide. Natural and imitation diamonds are most distinguished using optical techniques or thermal conductivity measurements. Diamond is a solid form of pure carbon with its atoms arranged in a crystal. Solid carbon comes in different forms known as allotropes depending on the type of chemical bond; the two most common allotropes of pure carbon are graphite. In graphite the bonds are sp2 orbital hybrids and the atoms form in planes with each bound to three nearest neighbors 120 degrees apart. In diamond they are sp3 and the atoms form tetrahedra with each bound to four nearest neighbors. Tetrahedra are rigid, the bonds are strong, of all known substances diamond has the greatest number of atoms per unit volume, why it is both the hardest and the least compressible.
It has a high density, ranging from 3150 to 3530 kilograms per cubic metre in natural diamonds and 3520 kg/m³ in pure diamond. In graphite, the bonds between nearest neighbors are stronger but the bonds between planes are weak, so the planes can slip past each other. Thus, graphite is much softer than diamond. However, the stronger bonds make graphite less flammable. Diamonds have been adapted for many uses because of the material's exceptional physical characteristics. Most notable are its extreme hardness and thermal conductivity, as well as wide bandgap and high optical dispersion. Diamond's ignition point is 720 -- 800 °C in 850 -- 1000 °C in air; the equilibrium pressure and temperature conditions for a transition between graphite and diamond is well established theoretically and experimentally. The pressure changes linearly between 1.7 GPa at 0 K and 12 GPa at 5000 K. However, the phases have a wide region about this line where they can coexist. At normal temperature and pressure, 20 °C and 1 standard atmosphere, the stable phase of carbon is graphite, but diamond is metastable and its rate of conversion to graphite is negligible.
However, at temperatures above about 4500 K, diamond converts to graphite. Rapid conversion of graphite to diamond requires pressures well above the equilibrium line: at 2000 K, a pressure of 35 GPa is needed. Above the triple point, the melting point of diamond increases with increasing pressure. At high pressures and germanium have a BC8 body-centered cubic crystal structure, a similar structure is predicted for carbon at high pressures. At 0 K, the transition is predicted to occur at 1100 GPa; the most common crystal structure of diamond is called diamond cubic. It is formed of unit cells stacked together. Although there are 18 atoms in the figure, each corner atom is shared by eight unit cells and each atom in the center of a face is shared by two, so there are a total of eight atoms per unit cell; each side of the unit cell is 3.57 angstroms in length. A diamond cubic lattice can be thought of as two interpenetrating face-centered cubic lattices with one displaced by 1/4 of the diagonal along a cubic cell, or as one lattice with two atoms associated with each lattice point.
Looked at from a <1 1 1> crystallographic direction, it is formed of layers stacked in a repeating ABCABC... pattern. Diamonds can form an ABAB... structure, known as hexagonal diamond or lonsdaleite, but this is far less common and is formed under different conditions from cubic carbon. Diamonds occur most as euhedral or rounded octahedra and twinned octahedra known as macles; as diamond's crystal structure has a cubic arrangement of the atoms, they have many facets that belong to a cube, rhombicosidodecahedron, tetrakis hexahedron or disdyakis dodecahedron. The crystals can be elongated. Diamonds are found coated in nyf, an opaque gum-like skin; some diamonds have opaque fibers. They are referred to as opaque if the fibers
Chuquicamata, or "Chuqui" as it is more familiarly known, is by excavated volume the largest open pit copper mine in the world, located in the north of Chile, just outside Calama at 2,850 m above sea level, 215 km northeast of Antofagasta and 1,240 km north of the capital, Santiago. Flotation and smelting facilities were installed in 1952, expansion of the refining facilities in 1968 made 500,000 ton annual copper production possible in the late 1970s. Part of Anaconda Copper, the mine is now owned and operated by Codelco, a Chilean state enterprise, since the Chilean nationalization of copper in the late 1960s and early 1970s, its depth of 850 metres makes it the second deepest open-pit mine in the world. There are several versions of the meaning of Chuquicamata; the most known seems to be that it means the limit of the land of the Chucos. Another says. A third says that it means the distance that a spear was thrown by an Atacameño to determine the size of the copper orebody that a god intended to give him as a reward.
Yet another theory is that it means'Pico de Oro' or'Peak of Gold'. The name Chuquicamata is a word from the Aymara language and refers to the chuco or chuqui Native American Indian group, they worked the copper deposits here in pre-Hispanic times to make their tools. Besides the Incas and Spanish explorers and English companies mined the brochantite veins from 1879 to 1912; the opencast was the biggest pit in the world during the nineties. But it has lost its foremost position and the new Escondida Copper Mine is today the world's largest producing mine with 750,000 metric tons of production, 5.6% of the world's production in 2000. Copper has been mined for centuries at Chuquicamata as was shown by the discovery in 1899 of "Copper Man", a mummy dated at about 550 A. D., found trapped in an ancient mine shaft by a fall of rock. It is said that Pedro de Valdivia obtained copper horseshoes from the natives when he passed through in the early 16th Century. Mining activity was small scale until the War of the Pacific when Chile annexed large areas of both Peru and Bolivia north of its old border, which included Chuquicamata.
There was a great influx of miners into the area drawn in by'Red Gold Fever' and soon Chuquicamata was covered with mines and mining claims, over 400 at one point. It was a disorganised camp. Title to claims was in doubt due to the defective 1873 Mining Code, the capture of Calama by the 1891 Chilean Civil War rebels who confiscated mines belonging to loyalists further complicated titles. Many of the miners lived in makeshift and lawless shanty towns around the mines, including Punta de Rieles and Banco Drummond, which provided alcohol and prostitution and where murder was a daily occurrence; as late as 1918 the army had to be sent in to keep order. The towns were buried under the waste dumps to the east of the mine; these early operations mined veins such as the Zaragoza and Balmaceda, which were high grade with values up to 10-15% copper, disregarded the low grade disseminated ore. One attempt was made to process the low grade ore in 1899-1900 by Norman Walker, a partner in La Compañia de Cobres de Antofagasta, but it failed leaving the company in debt.
However, mining never developed satisfactorily in the early days because of the lack of water, the isolation and lack of communications, lack of capital and fluctuations in the copper price. Larger mining companies emerged, organised as commercial rather than mining operations to avoid the imperfections of the mining code, started to buy up and consolidate the small mines and claims; the modern era started when the American engineer Bradley developed a method of working low grade oxidised copper ores. In 1910 he approached the lawyer and industrialist Albert C Burrage who sent engineers to examine Chuquicamata, it was the start of copper mining by the Chile Exploration Company of the Guggenheim Group. Their reports were good and in April 1911 he started to buy up mines and claims from the larger mining companies, in association with Duncan Fox y Cia. an English entrepreneur. Since Burrage did not have the capital to develop a mine, he approached the Guggenheim Brothers, they estimated reserves at 690 million tonnes grading 2.58 % copper.
The Guggenheims had a process for treating the low grade ores developed by Elias Anton Cappelen Smith and were interested, organised the Chile Exploration Company in January 1912 and bought out Burrage for US$25 million in Chilex stock. E. A. Cappelen Smith, consulting metallurgist for M. Guggenheim's Sons, worked out the first process for the treatment of Chuquicamata copper oxide ore about 1913, directed a staff of engineers operating a pilot plant at Perth Amboy, New Jersey, on three shifts for an entire year. Chilex went ahead with the development and construction of a mine on the eastern section of the Chuquicamata field.. The 10,000 tons per day leaching plant was planned to produce 50,000 tons of electrolytic copper annually. Amongst the equipment purchased were steam shovels from the Panama Canal. A port and an oil-fired power plant were built at Tocopilla, 140 km to the west and an aqueduct was constructed to bring water in from the Andes. Production started on May 18, 1915. Actual production rose from 4,345 tonnes in the first year to 50,400 tonnes in 1920 and 135,89
Open-pit, open-cast or open cut mining is a surface mining technique of extracting rock or minerals from the earth by their removal from an open pit or borrow. This form of mining differs from extractive methods that require tunnelling into the earth, such as long wall mining. Open-pit mines are used when deposits of commercially useful ore or rocks are found near the surface, it is applied to ore or rocks found at the surface because the overburden is thin or the material of interest is structurally unsuitable for tunnelling. In contrast, minerals that have been found underground but are difficult to retrieve due to hard rock, can be reached using a form of underground mining. To create an open-pit mine, the miners must determine the information of the ore, underground; this is done through drilling of probe holes in the ground plotting each hole location on a map. The information gained through the holes with provide an idea of the vertical extent of the ore's body; this vertical information is used to pit tentative locations of the benches that will occur in the mine.
It is important to consider the grade and economic value of the ore in the potential pit. Open-pit mines that produce building materials and dimension stone are referred to as "quarries." Open-pit mines are enlarged until either the mineral resource is exhausted, or an increasing ratio of overburden to ore makes further mining uneconomic. When this occurs, the exhausted mines are sometimes converted to landfills for disposal of solid wastes. However, some form of water control is required to keep the mine pit from becoming a lake, if the mine is situated in a climate of considerable precipitation or if any layers of the pit forming the mine border productive aquifers. Open-pit mining is to be considered one of the most dangerous sectors in the industrial world, it causes significant effects to miners health, as well as damage to the ecological land. Open-pit mining causes changes to vegetation and bedrock, which contributes to changes in surface hydrology, groundwater levels, flow paths. Additionally, open-pit produces harmful pollutants depending on the type of mineral being mined, the type of mining process being used.
Open-cast mines are dug on benches. The interval of the benches depends on the deposit being mined, the mineral being mined, the size of the machinery, being used. Large mine benches are 12 to 15 metres thick. In contrast, many quarries do not use benches, as they are shallow. Mining can be conducted on more than one bench at a time, access to different benches is done with a system of ramps; the width of each bench is determined by the size of the equipment being used 20-40 metres wide. Downward ramps are created to allow mining on a new level to begin; this new level will become progressively wider to form the new pit bottom. Most walls of the pit are mined on an angle less than vertical. Waste rock is stripped when the pit becomes deeper, therefore this angle is a safety precaution to prevent and minimize damage and danger from rock falls. However, this depends on how weathered and eroded the rocks are, the type of rocks involved, it depends on the amount of structural weaknesses occur within the rocks, such as a faults, joints or foliations.
The walls are stepped. The inclined section of the wall is known as the batter, the flat part of the step is known as the bench or berm; the steps in the walls help prevent. In some instances additional ground support is required and rock bolts, cable bolts and shotcrete are used. De-watering bores may be used to relieve water pressure by drilling horizontally into the wall, enough to cause failures in the wall by itself. A haul road is situated at the side of the pit, forming a ramp up which trucks can drive, carrying ore and waste rock. Open-pit mines create a significant amount of waste. One million tons of ore and waste rock can move from the largest mines per day, a couple thousand tons moved from small mines per day. There is four main operations in a mine that contribute to this load: drilling, blasting and hauling. Waste rock is hauled to a waste dump. Waste dumps can be piled at the surface of the active pit, or in mined pits. Leftover waste from processing the ore is called tailings, is in the form of a slurry.
This is pumped to a tailings settling pond, where the water is reused or evaporated. Tailings dams can be toxic due to the presence of unextracted sulfide minerals, some forms of toxic minerals in the gangue, cyanide, used to treat gold ore via the cyanide leach process. If proper environmental protections are not in place, this toxicity can harm the surrounding environment. Open-pit mining involves the process of disrupting the ground, which leads to the creation of air pollutants; the main source of air pollutants comes from the transportation of minerals, but their are various other factors including drilling and the loading and unloading of overburden. These type of pollutants cause significant damage to public health and safety in addition to damaging the air quality; the inhalation of these pollutants can cause issues to the lungs and increase mortality. Furthermore, the pollutants affect fauna in the areas surrounding open-pit mines. Open-pit gold mining is one of the highest potential mining threats on the environment as it affects the air and water chemistry.
The exposed dust may be toxic or radioactive, making it a health concern for the workers and the surrounding communities. A form of open-
The Mir mine called the Mirny mine, is an open pit diamond mine located in Mirny, Sakha Republic, in the Siberian region of eastern Russia. The mine is >525 meters deep and has a diameter of 1,200 m, is one of the largest excavated holes in the world. Open-pit mining was discontinued in 2001. Since 2009, it has been active as an underground diamond mine; the diamond-bearing deposits were discovered on June 13, 1955, by Soviet geologists Yuri Khabardin, Ekaterina Elagina and Viktor Avdeenko during the large Amakinsky Expedition in Yakut ASSR. They found traces of the volcanic rock kimberlite, associated with diamonds; this finding was the second success in the search for kimberlite in Russia, after numerous failed expeditions of the 1940s and 1950s. For this discovery, in 1957 Khabardin was given the Lenin Prize, one of the highest awards in the Soviet Union; the development of the mine started in 1957, in harsh climate conditions. Seven months of winter per year froze the ground. During the brief summer months, the ground turned to slush.
Buildings had to be raised on piles, so that they would not sink from the warmth of the building melting the permafrost. The main processing plant had to be built on better ground, found 20 km away from the mine; the winter temperatures were so low that car tires and steel would shatter and oil would freeze. During the winter, workers used jet engines to thaw and dig out the permafrost or blasted it with dynamite to get access to the underlying kimberlite; the entire mine had to be covered at night to prevent the machinery from freezing. In the 1960s the mine was producing 10,000,000 carats of diamond per year, of which a high fraction were of gem quality; the upper layers of the mine had high diamond content of four carats per tonne of ore, with the high ratio of gems to industrial stones. The yield decreased to about 2 carats per tonne and the production rate slowed to 2,000,000 carats per year near the pit bottom; the largest diamond of the mine was found on 23 December 1980. The mine operation was interrupted in the 1990s at a depth of 340 m after the pit bottom became flooded, but resumed later.
The rapid development of the Mir mine had worried De Beers company, which at that time was distributing most of the world's diamonds. De Beers had to buy Russian diamonds in order to control the market price, therefore needed to know as much as possible about the Russian mining developments. In the 1970s, De Beers requested permission to visit the Mir mine. Permission was granted under condition that Russian experts would visit De Beers diamond mines in South Africa. De Beers executive Sir Philip Oppenheimer and chief geologist Barry Hawthorne arrived in Moscow in the summer of 1976, they were intentionally delayed in Moscow by the arrangement of a series of meetings and lavish banquets with Soviet geologists, mineralogists and mine managers. When Oppenheimer and Hawthorne reached the Mir mine, their visas were about to expire, so that they could only have 20 minutes at the Mir mine; that short time was sufficient to get some important details. For example, the Russians did not use water during the ore processing at all, astonishing to De Beers.
The reason was that water would freeze most of the year, dry crushing was used instead. De Beers overestimated the size of the mine's pit; the Mir mine was the largest diamond mine in the Soviet Union. Its surface operation lasted 44 years closing in June 2001. After the collapse of the USSR, in the 1990s, the mine was operated by the Sakha diamond company, which reported annual profits in excess of $600 million from diamond sales; the mine was operated by Alrosa, the largest diamond producing company in Russia, employed 3,600 workers. It had long been anticipated. Therefore, in the 1970s construction of a network of tunnels for underground diamond recovery began. By 1999, the project operated as an underground mine. In order to stabilize the abandoned surface main pit, its bottom was covered by a rubble layer 45 m thick. After underground operations began, the project had a mine life estimate of 27 years, based on a drilling exploration program to a depth of 1,220 m. Production ceased in 2004, the Mir mine was permanently closed in 2001.
The mine was commissioned again in 2009, is expected to remain operational for 50 more years. Udachnaya pipe Mirny Diamond Mine at Atlas Obscura United States Mine Rescue Association BBC News Photo journal: "Postcards from Russia" "A Face of Mirny"* Aerial view of the Mirny Diamond Mine from Airliners.net A Guided Excursion around the Mirny Sights Pictures of Mirny Diamond Mine Biggest Diamond Mines