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Lukoil has begun mining diamonds in the Vladimir Grib field, 80 miles outside the northern city of Arkhangelsk.

Company president Vagit Alekperov was joined at the commissioning ceremony by Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is “among the higher priority investment projects”, according to the oil company said.

The diamond mine will incorporate open-pit mining techniques, and will have a rotation camp for 700 people, a lab complex, a core samples bank, environmental protection facilities, effluent treatment facilities, a fire station, and mine-rescue team station.

The complex will also have a washing facility with production capacity of around 4.5 million tons of ore per year.

Peak recovery for the field is expected to hit 4.5 million carats per year.