Moscow: It is expected that LUKOIL will produce up to 1.4 million carats of diamonds this year, and the next year’s production will increase by 40% to 2 million carats.
The diamond business is not a strategic asset for LUKOIL, but the company is not currently seeking a buyer for its non-core diamond assets. However, Vagit Alekperov, the head of the company, did not rule out that possibility in the future.
“We’re not looking for a buyer now. We said that this project was not strategic for us. If there will be some good offers, we are ready to consider, but today the project has already been implemented,” Alekperov said.
The CEO of LUKOIL also mentioned that diamond mining is growing rapidly for the company, the Grib diamond field near Arkhangelsk being the flagship of the company’s diamond project.
“If we produce 1.4 million carats this year, then next year our production will reach 2 million carats. That is, the project is developing at a very good pace, its geology and economics are totally confirmed,” Alekperov said.
It is reported that the first auction of Grib diamonds was conducted in September 2014 and it was very successful. Almost all of the diamond lots offered at the auction were sold out.
Grib Diamonds, a subsidiary of LUKOIL, plans to sell about 2.3 million carats of diamonds at their auction in Antwerp next year. At the same time, Bain & Co. predicts that the LUKOIL-owned Grib project will produce 4-4.5 million carats a year after commencing core operations in 2016. The lifecycle of the mine is predicted to reach about 15 years.