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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Record Diamond Sales

MOSCOW -- Russia's main diamond producer boosted its output last year by 10 percent, selling $1.7 billion worth of diamonds, a news report said over the weekend.

That was the highest sales figure on record at the state-controlled Alrosa company, Itar-Tass reported a company statement as saying. Alrosa's board of directors met last week in the mining city of Mirny in northern Russia.

Russia supplies about 20 percent of the world's uncut gems, and about 5 percent of all cut diamonds. Russian officials said recently they are hoping to boost annual diamond production to $2.2 billion by 2005 with the help of new Arctic mines.

Alrosa signed a contract with South African diamond cartel De Beers last year obliging Alrosa to sell De Beers a minimum of $550 million of rough diamonds annually. That makes up about 26 percent of the cartel's worldwide sales.