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MOSCOW, Oct 20 (Reuters) - Russian state-controlled diamond miner Alrosa said on Monday its third-quarter production decreased by 2 percent due to a shift to underground production at a mine in Russia's Far East.
Its third-quarter 2014 diamond production totalled 9.7 million carats, down from 9.9 million carats in the same period a year ago, the company said in a statement.
"The production decrease was mainly driven by the reduction in ore processing at the Udachnaya pipe in line with the company's plan for the transition to underground mining at the deposit," Alrosa said in a statement.
The company's rough diamond sales were up 8 percent for the first nine months of 2014 compared to the same period last year at 28.8 million carats or $3.7 billion thanks to higher diamond prices and quality, Alrosa's spokesperson told Reuters.
"The company notes a positive performance of the diamond market during 9M 2014 with rough diamond prices going up by around 7 percent since the beginning of the year."
Alrosa, whose roots date back to the first Russian diamond mine discovered in the 1950s, competes with Anglo American-owned De Beers for the status of the world's largest diamond miner but usually generates less revenue than the South-African rival. (Reporting by Andrey Kuzmin; Editing by Maria Kiselyova)