Russia's government has bought out from the country's diamond monopoly Alrosa $1 billion worth of diamonds to support the company and the diamond market amid the global economic crisis.
Many diamond mining companies showed responsibility amid the economic downturn, when they drastically cut the supply and contributed to stabilizing the prices for rough diamonds, mainly last year.
This helped to restrain prices on the market and finally became the main factor for ensuring its faster recovery.
The possibility of Alrosa going public is in the headlines again as the company's management works through the process of changing from a closed joint-stock company (CJSC) to an open one.
The first step is just to transfer Alrosa into an Open Joint-Stock Company without issuing additional shares; the second step may be attracting more shareholders and financing.
Although the idea of transforming Russia's largest diamond miner into an OJSC has been in the air for two years, the timing seems particularly good right now because the company is trying to lighten its hefty debt burden and raise money for underground mine construction.
Alrosa is not alone among diamond miners in its initial public offering (IPO) plans; according to other reports, De Beers is considering going public in London.
Alrosa's transition into an OJSC is certain to be debated in the parliament of Yakutia, a Russian republic in Eastern Siberia where most of Alrosa's mines are located and where the company has considerable social responsibilities.
Russia's leading science and research institutions have united their efforts to identify untapped diamond deposits in Siberia using sophisticated data and research methods. As a result of the research, we expect to single out three or four lots that could contain at least 145 million carats.