While to outsiders it may have seemed the closure of Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine marked the end of diamond mining in Australia, recent developments show signs of an unexpected revival. Earlier this year, Australian-based miner Lucapa, currently operating mines in Angola and Lesotho, acquired the Merlin mine, which hasn’t produced any diamonds since 2003. Lucapa hopes to restart the mine within two years.
48 hours after announcing their intention to purchase the Merlin Mine, Lucapa hosted an invite-only event showcasing two of the largest, most expensive, and rare diamonds ever seen in Australia. The diamonds were a 15-carat heart-shaped pink gem and 213-carat top-color white gem.
The 15-carat pink gem was polished from a 46-carat diamond recovered from the Lulo mine in Angola. Lucapa recovered the 213-carat rough white diamond from the Mothae mine in Lesotho. Recent auction sales of similar diamonds place the combined value of the stones at more than US$10 million.
In their latest update, Australia-based miner Lucapa Diamond Company has struck a deal to buy the Northern Territory's Merlin diamond mine for US$17.8 million, which they intend to fund with private and public sales of its shares.
Gibb River Diamonds, the company holding the lease on the Ellendale mine in West Kimberley since December 2019, welcomes a recent drop in royalty rate - from 7.5% to 5% - by Western Australia authorities. The Ellendale mine, which in the past produced 50% of the world's typical fancy yellows for Tiffany & C° hasn't produced diamonds since 2015, when former owner Kimberley Diamonds decided to only focus on their Botswana project.
Rio Tinto's diamond division recorded a $21 million loss for FT 2019 as its revenues fell 11% to $619 million from $695 million a year earlier, according to the company's Annual Results released on Wednesday. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) tumbled by 50% to $151 million from $301 million in 2018.
Rio Tinto has lowered its 2020 rough diamond production guidance to 12-14 million carats, down from 17 million carats produced in 2019 and 18.4 million carats the year prior.
The former Ellendale diamond mine area in the West Kimberley region of Australia is heading towards a new lease of life, as Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston has announced that Gibb River Diamonds has accepted his offer to apply for a new lease to mine at Ellendale and has invited India Bore Diamond Holdings to apply for other tenements at the site.
Rio Tinto’s Argyle Pink Diamond tenders, the 35th since the mine started producing the rare pink, red and violet diamonds, received a lot of interest, the company says. As the Argyle mine is due to close next year, the 2019 tender is most likely one of the last tenders, explaining the double-digit growth in bids made on the lots of polished pinks, reds and purples. The most valuable diamond in the selection, the Argyle Enigma, was bought by Australia-based Star & Kiven Diamonds (Aurostar group), who also won the winning bid for the Argyle Verity.
Rio Tinto saw its diamond output fall in the third quarter of 2019 (three months ended September 30, 2019), citing lower carat grades from its Argyle mine in Australia and lower ore availability at the Diavik mine in Canada. The multinational mining group reported a 7% decline in diamonds produced during the quarter and a 9% drop over the first nine months of the year.
Diamonds is a business we like a lot. It’s a very high-margin business in line with our strategy of value over volume. It makes a lot of sense. We want to stay in the diamonds business, so we have committed 20% of our exploration budget to diamonds. We are also exploring for mergers and acquisitions.
- Arnaud Soirat, Rio’s chief executive for copper and diamonds, speaking to Bloomberg
Rio Tinto has launched a new collection of rare pink diamonds from its Argyle diamond mine in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia. Known as the “Argyle Pink Everlastings Collection”, this offering has been curated to showcase the full color palette of Argyle pink diamonds, weighing 0.14 carats and below. The Collection comprises 64 lots and weighing a total of 211.21carats. It is expected that less than 100 carats of the equivalent profile will be produced by the mine prior to closure in 2020, emphasizing "the finite raity of these beautiful gems.”
Leading global consolidated miner Rio Tinto today (August 1) announced it would be returning $3.5 billion to its shareholders, including an interim dividend of $2.5 billion and a special dividend of $1.0 billion. The dividends decision followed a half-year performance where Rio earned $20.7 billion in consolidated sales revenue, a 9% increase over H1 2018, and ended with underlying EBITDA of $10.3 billion, a 19% increase over H1 2019.
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.
Australian jewelry chain Michael Hill says it underpaid staff by as much as A$25 million (US$17.45 million) over the past six years, and will pay out a sum in the range of A$10-25 million (US$7-17.5 million) to redress its error. The Brisbane-based chain is the latest in a string of organisations to admit to staff underpayments, and will face questions from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO), writes the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC). The jeweler discovered the discrepancy on its own but did not inform the FWO about it.
Rio Tinto's diamond production for the year fell by 15% to 18.4 million carats from 21.6 million carats in 2017, as production at the Argyle mine in 2018 fell by 18% compared to 2017, when production was enhanced by the processing of higher grade alluvial tailings. The fourth quarter in particular put a drag on the annual figures, as the 3.2 million carats unearthed represented a 48% decline from Q4 2017 - albeit against a high base of 7.21 million carats - and a 16% decline from last quarter.
Gibb River Diamonds Ltd. (GIB), until recenly known as POZ Diamonds, has received the necessary permitting for its Blina Diamond Project in the Ellendale Diamond Province of Wester Australia's Kimberley Region. The project consists of four granted mining and various exploration leases, and the company is already recovering high quality stones.
Rio Tinto's carat production in Q3 2018 at the Argyle as well as Diavik mines fell on a year-over-year basis, though production for the year thus far has kept pace with the first nine months of 2017. Production during the three months ending September 30 fell by over 17% to 4.9 million carats from 5.9 million carats, driven by a 19% decline at its 100-percent owned Argyle mine in Australia. Total output from the two mines is down by 2% to 14.1 million carats for the year to date.
CEO of Australia’s Lucapa Diamond Company, Stephen Wetherall, paid a visit to Antwerp recently, where The Diamond Loupe caught up with him. We encountered an optimistic CEO that is clearly excited about the future of Lucapa, and justifiably so. The growing miner operates, together with its partners in Angola, the highest-value and most promising alluvial diamond project in the world - the Lulo Diamond Project.
POZ Minerals Ltd., a phosphate producer that holds a 100% interest in the Blina Diamond Project and also explores for phosphate and gold properties, annouced it will place a bid for the Ellendale mine after the state government’s call for investors in the asset last week. The Ellendale Project was mined from 2002 to 2015 and previously produced about half of the world's highly valued fancy yellow diamonds.
Australian-based Lucapa Diamond Company, whose flagship operation is the Lulo diamond project in Angola, reports the recovery 1,100 diamonds from a 178 kg drill sample at the Brooking diamond project in Western Australia’s West Kimberley lamproite province. The miner's "exceptional results" from the Little Spring Creek discovery included 18 macro-diamonds and 1,082 micro-diamonds, recovered from drill hole LSC/DH002. “The latest micro-diamond results from Little Spring Creek are some of the best I have seen in the diamond space," said Lucapa Managing Director Stephen Wetherall.
The Western Australian Government is seeking expressions of interest to reopen and operate the Ellendale diamond mine in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, reports Australian Mining. Ellendale previously provided about half of the world’s highly-valued fancy yellow diamonds, of which US jeweller Tiffany & Co was a major client. Mining operatoins ceased in July 2015 when Kimberley Diamond Company (KDC), which had operated the mine from 2002 to 2015, entered into administration.
Rio Tinto reports rough diamond output at its Argyle Mine in Australia nearly hit 3.5 million carats for the second straight quarter in 2018 (3.48 million carats in Q2, 3.5 million carats in Q1), marking an 8% increase over output in the second quarter of 2017 and continuing the gains recorded in the first quarter. The mining giant has now topped 7 million carats produced at Argyle in the first half of 2018, a 13% increase over the first half of 2017. Rio Tinto attributes the increase over Q2 2017 to an increase in tons processed following improved plant availability.
Rio Tinto's Arglye mine in Australia - the world's main if not only source of pink diamonds - may be heading for closure in 2020, but not before going out with a bang. The miner will headline one of its last ever pink diamond tenders with the Argyle Alpha vivid pink diamond, weighing 3.14 carats, which was actually uncovered in 2015. It the largest stone of its color in the history of the annual sales event.
Rio Tinto‘s Australian Diamonds program has launched its latest campaign in India highlighting a new range of affordable bridal and fashion jewelry from the company’s Argyle diamond mine in Australia, the company announced in a press release. Mithali Raj, captain of the Indian women’s cricket team is the official ambassador for the new campaign, helping promote the popularity of diamonds in fashion and bridal jewelry, particularly for younger Indian consumers.
The Lerala Diamond Mine in central Botswana has been sold via an online auction for $8.1 million, a year after it was placed under provisional liquidation, according to a report from Reuters. The liquidator of the mine - which was held by Australian mining company Kimberley Diamonds and has been on judiciary management for the past year after it shut down due to a lack of funding and "weak market conditions" - put the entire operation up for sale in an online auction after its liquidators failed to secure viable offers.
Rio Tinto reports rough diamond output at its Argyle Mine in Australia topped 3.5 million carats in Q1 2018, representing an 18% increase over output in the first quarter of last year, but a massive 42% decline compared to the 6.1 million carats recovered in Q4 2017. The mining giant attributes the increase over Q1 2017 to relatively fewer weather disruptions and the additional processing of higher grade alluvial tailings.
Featuring genuine examples some of the world’s rarest diamonds - pink gems from Rio Tinto’s Argyle mine in Australia - The Perth Mint has launched a limited edition collection of Pink Diamond Ingots celebrating the Pink Panther. Struck from 91.67% pure pink gold and 99.95% pure platinum, each ingot is handset with two stunning pink diamonds from the Argyle Diamond Mine, each weighing 0.08 carats, of Fancy Intense to Vivid Purplish Pink color.
The Lucapa Diamond Company has announced it has secured major investment backing from a new cornerstone investor and existing shareholders to advance its diamond projects and continue delivering on its growth strategy. The US$12.7 million (A$16.5 million) placement, at no discount to market price, will enable Lucapa to immediately launch an extensive follow-up exploration program, including further drilling, at the Brooking diamond discovery in Western Australia’s West Kimberley region, the company states.
Stellar Diamonds and Australia's Newfield Resources (NWF) have reached agreement on the terms of a recommended all-share offer by Newfield to acquire the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Stellar, a deal worth an estimated $10.8 million. The Australian company will lend Stellar US$3 million to help it over its immediate short-term cash needs, while undertaking a right issue to raise A$30 million (US$23.6m) to re-finance the enlarged group. Stellar Diamonds' chief executive Karl Smithson recently spoke about the “extremely difficult” market for junior miners to raise new funds,
The United Nations General Assembly, welcoming progress made by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to break links between the diamond trade and conflict, on March 7 adopted a consensus resolution aimed at intensifying that work and aligning it with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Lucapa Diamond Company (partners Endiama and Rosas & Petalas) completed the second sale for 2018 of diamonds from the Lulo Diamond Project in Angola. The sale of 2,072 carats of Lulo diamonds achieved gross proceeds of US$1.7 million (A$2.1 million), representing an average price per carat of US$804. The largest diamond weighed 44 carats in the sale parcel, which also included a vivid pink of 1.9 carats. The latest sale brought gross proceeds from Lulo diamonds sales to date in 2018 to US$10.8 million (A$13.5 million) at an average price per carat of US$1,731.
Rio Tinto's 2017 annual report includes significant changes in estimates of Ore Reserves and Mineral Resources at Rio Tinto's Argyle Diamond mine in the East Kimberley, Western Australia, the company announced in a press release accompanying their annual report.
Rio Tinto rode the wave of higher commodity prices and saw results from its cost cutting drive to record a 90% increase in net profit to $8.8 billion in 2017, and their diamond operations got in on the party, with profits climbing 96% to $92 million. Revenue jumped 15% to $706 million from $613 million, as demand for rough diamonds heated up following the normalization of the Indian market post-demonitization - the currency shift the government initiated in November 2016. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) grew 20% to $287 million.
Australia's Lucapa Diamond Company has announced their Q4 and final 2017 results, with fewer large diamond recoveries and lower prices achieved leading to a 38% decline in annual sales. The company earned $31.6 million in revenue from diamond recovered at their Lulo Diamond Project in Angola, compared to $51 million a year ago. Last year's figures include the 404 carat "4th February Stone", which sold for US$16m in February 2016. Even without the earnings from that big diamond, however, sales would still have been 10% lower than the $35 million earned in 2016 excluding the big stone.
Brisbane-based retail jeweler Michael Hill has announced, "The complete exit of the loss-making retail operations in the US" as part of a set of strategic actions across its global retail network. The company, which "entered the U.S.
A global miner hoping to revive the Kimberley diamond industry has made a significant discovery, only 50km east of the old Ellendale mine that once produced half the world's rare fancy yellow diamonds, writes ABC Australia. Only a few weeks after Lucapa Diamond Company began drilling for lamproite on its Brooking project, it has uncovered 119 diamonds, including seven macro diamonds. The diamonds were recovered from an 86.8kg core sample in a 7.5cm drill hole at Little Spring Creek in the West Kimberley.
On the back of a fourth-quarter push in diamond production that increased 58% year-on-year and 21% compared to Q3 2017, Rio Tinto ended the year 2017 with a 20% rise in rough diamond production to 21.63 million carats from 17.95 million carats in 2016. In Q4 alone, Rio Tinto unearthed 7.21 million of those 21.63 million carats, a tremendous increase over the 4.57 million carats extracted in the same period a year earlier. Rio Tinto is forecasting 2018 diamond production at 17 to 20 million carats.
Australia's Frontier Diamonds was admitted to the ASX – the Australian Securities Exchange – on January 3 and commenced trading shares on January 5, 2018. Frontier’s current focus is largely on two operating diamond mines in South Africa – the Star and Sedibeng Diamond Mines. Since acquiring the Sedibeng and Star Diamond Mines from Petra in 2014, Frontier’s strategy has been to restart operations and to make capital development and operational changes to cut costs and deliver strong improvements in operational efficiencies.
Australia's Lucapa Diamond Co. and its Angolan partners, Endiama and Rosas & Petalas, have decided to schedule the next diamond sale for early 2018. The timing of this sale is designed to maximise sale proceeds by selling into a usually stronger demand period at the beginning of the year. The next sale parcel of alluvial diamonds from the Lulo Diamond Project in Angola will total 2,160 carats. This includes the exceptional 129 carat and 78 carat Type IIa D-colour Lulo diamonds recovered from Mining Block 6 in November 2017.
At the close of the KP Plenary session in Brisbane last week, the World Diamond Council (WDC) - the KP industry representatives focused on preventing conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate global supply chain and protecting the value of diamonds - extended praise and gratitude to Participants at the gathering, for embracing the spirit of collaboration and open dialogue around KP reform. “This week we spoke openly and transparently about areas of the KP in need of the most urgent reform, and I am pleased that we have come together and