Rio Tinto's rough diamond production fell by 10% during the first half of the year despite improved output in the second quarter compared to the first three months of 2019. Production at its Argyle mine in Australia actually increased by 18% compared to Q1, but the nearly 3.3 million carats recovered in Q2 was 5% fewer than during the same period in 2018 due to lower recovered grade, partially offset by stronger mining rates. Output at the Argyle mine reached 6.1 million carats in H1 2019, a 13% decline compared to the same period last year.
Rio Tinto's share of production at the Diavik mine in Canada (60% RT, 40% Dominion Diamond Mines) was also 18% higher than in Q1 this year, with the 1.2 million carats recovered also representing a 3% increase over the volume of carats recovered in Q2 2018 due to slightly higher grades and ore processing throughput. For the first half of the year, Rio Tinto's share of output from Diavik fell 1% to 2.2 million carats.
Total diamond output for the first half of the year stood at 8.28 million carats, a 10% decline from the H1 2018 level of 9.24 million carats. Rio Tinto announced that the 2019 guidance is unchanged, with diamond production for the year expected to be between 15 and 17 million carats.
Image: Courtesy of Rio Tinto Diamonds