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Articles from DIAMONDS BY COLOUR - PINK (35 Articles), DIAMONDS BY COLOUR - YELLOW (16 Articles), DIAMONDS BY COLOUR - BROWN/CHAMPAGNE (11 Articles)











The six ‘hero’ stones from this year’s Argyle Tender, the penultimate event before the mine’s closure in 2020.
The six ‘hero’ stones from this year’s Argyle Tender, the penultimate event before the mine’s closure in 2020.

Australia’s diamond production to plummet 99 per cent with Argyle closure

The Argyle Mine, in Western Australia, is set to cease operation in 2020 – drastically reducing Australia’s diamond production to less than 1 per cent of its current output.

The Rio Tinto-owned site – which produces 90 to 95 per cent of the world’s rare pink diamonds, as well as yellow, champagne, brown and colourless diamonds – is responsible for the majority of Australia’s diamond volume, which in 2018 totalled more than 14 million carats.

According to the Kimberley Process, Australia currently ranks as the fifth-highest diamond producing country by volume.

However, when Argyle closes next year, the country will be left with just one producing diamond mine: Merlin in the Northern Territory, which is reported to have already reached its peak capacity.

Industry analysts have noted that if no alternatives are found, Australia’s diamond volume will total just 137,000 carats from 2021.

Arnaud Soirat
Arnaud Soirat
“These diamonds, each a natural treasure, are a testament to the enormous range and depth of offering from the Argyle ore body”
Arnaud Soirat, chief executive copper and diamonds, Rio Tinto

The Ellendale mine in Western Australia has been dormant since 2015 when its licence holder Kimberley Diamond Company went into liquidation. No new operator has been found, though the site is considered to be viable for future diamond mining.

Vinneth Bajaj, senior mining analyst GlobalData, said: “With no immediate potential to replace even part of the output of the Argyle mine, the country’s production of rough diamonds will fall to less than 1 per cent of the current levels… However there are positive signs that the Australian diamond industry could be revived.”

Lucapa Diamond Company, Auteco Minerals, GeoCrystal and Legend International are all reportedly involved in diamond exploration in Australia, with Lucapa discovering promising results at the Brooking site 1,800km north of Perth.

Meanwhile, this year’s Argyle Tender – Rio Tinto’s annual private display and auction of its most impressive stones – took place in July and was the first Tender to be held at the outback mine site itself.

Titled ‘The Quest For The Absolute’, the collection featured 64 natural fancy colour diamonds, including three fancy reds. The standout was the 1.75-carat Argyle Enigma, one of just three fancy reds weighing more than 1.5 carats that has been produced over the mine’s 40-year history.

Arnaud Soirat, chief executive copper and diamonds Rio Tinto, said, “These diamonds, each a natural treasure, are a testament to the enormous range and depth of offering from the Argyle ore body, nearly four decades from when production commenced.”

The Tender process is invitation-only and buyers submit sealed bids in a secret auction. Pink and red diamonds can fetch up to $2 million per carat. The 2019 Argyle Tender diamonds will go on tour to Perth, Sydney, Hong Kong and New York before being sold. Bidding closes on 9 October 2019.

There are believed to be just 150 Tender-quality diamonds left in Rio Tinto’s collection. After the Argyle Mine’s closure, Rio Tinto has indicated the site will be rehabilitated and likely returned to traditional owners under Native Title.

 

More reading:
Thinking pink: sunset versus sunrise
Inside the fascinating world of natural colour diamonds
‘Unprecedented’ diamond yield from new Australian mine

 











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Thursday, 21 November, 2019 09:42pm
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