The state of the diamond mining industry as 2019 enters full swing is concerning to many throughout the trade. The fall in prices of small, lower-quality diamonds, a staple of many miners, had participants at the Africa Mining Indaba last week concerned about the sustainability of their operations if the market does not correct this year, with some even concerned about their survival.
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.
Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamond Mines have announced the recovery of the largest known gem-quality diamond ever found in North America. The 552-carat yellow diamond was unearthed in October at the Diavik Diamond Mine, approximately 135 miles south of the Arctic Circle in Canada’s Northwest Territories. Measuring around 3cm by 5.5cm, it is said to be about the size of a chicken egg. "A diamond of this size is completely unexpected for this part of the world and marks a true milestone for diamond mining in North America and Canadamark diamonds overall," the companies said in a statement.
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.
Rio Tinto and Dominion Diamond Mines have revealed three of the finest large rough diamonds from their Diavik diamond mine in Canada, which will be showcased in Antwerp and Israel before being tendered to diamond specialists from around the world. The three rough diamonds, collectively named “The Diavik Stars of the Arctic”, will highlight a rough diamond tender of 'specials' (diamonds weighing more than 10.8 carats) before bids close on October 25.
Rio Tinto’s iconic Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is being showcased to connoisseurs and collectors from across Asia in Hong Kong; the miner has also unveiled a one-of-a-kind pink diamond and emerald necklace during a world exclusive preview in Hong Kong. Headlining the 2018 collection of 63 pink, red and violet diamonds is The Argyle Muse, a 2.28 carat polished oval diamond, the largest purplish red diamond ever offered at Tender. Rio expects it will be highly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs from Asia where the colour red is highly symbolic.
Rio Tinto yesterday celebrated the opening of a fourth diamond pipe, known as A21, at the remote subarctic Diavik Diamond Mine in the Northwest Territories of Canada, the miner announced in a press release. The new open pit pipe will provide an important source of incremental supply over the next four years to sustain production levels at the Rio Tinto operated mine. The A21 pipe is located adjacent to Diavik’s existing mining operations at Lac de Gras.
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.
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.
Coming off of 2017, a year in which global diamond supply by volume increased by 11.7% year-over-year, supply is forecast to contract by 3.4% to 147M carats in 2018, writes independent industry analyst Paul Zimnisky. Of the world's top three diamond miners by volume, only De Beers is expected to increase production this year, while diamond output at Russia's ALROSA and diversified-major Rio Tinto is estimated to decline, more than offsetting De Beers' increase. Combined, the three companies represent approximately 70% of global diamond supply by volume.
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.
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.
Diversified mining conglomerate Rio Tinto will expand its fleet of autonomous haul trucks at its world-class iron ore operations in the Pilbara by more than 50 percent by 2019 after signing agreements with leading manufacturers Caterpillar Inc. and Komatsu Ltd. to convert traditional trucks to autonomous vehicles, the company announced today. A total of 29 Komatsu haul trucks will be retrofitted with Autonomous Haulage System (AHS) technology starting next year.
It appears that Indian resources conglomerates Vedanta (controlled by London-based Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal) and Adani (controlled by fellow billionaire Gautam Adani) are considering bidding for a $9 billion diamond project in the country that was abandoned by Rio Tinto this year, reports Reuters. The central state of Madhya Pradesh was likely to invite bids in the first week of November to explore the deposit, which is estimated to have 32-34 million carats of diamond reserves, a senior state government official said. “We’re advertising only for that area in which (Rio Tint
GIA senior industry analyst Russel Shor, in his recent article, "Diamond Producers Aim for Lower Qualities in Today’s Market", explains how sophisticated mining techniques enable major diamond miners to target their drilling to meet polished diamond demand.
Today we have announced total cash returns to shareholders of $3 billion. By driving performance, focusing on cash and allocating it with discipline we are delivering superior cash returns to our shareholders. These are strong results: operating cash flow was $6.3 billion and we met our $2 billion cash cost reduction target six months early. We are now shifting gear to focus on the untapped value from our productivity programme and continue to strengthen our portfolio to build higher returns for the future.
Rio Tinto has unveiled the largest Fancy Red diamond in the history of its Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender at a world exclusive preview in New York. The 2.11 carat gem, named ‘The Argyle Everglow’, is the centrepiece of the 2017 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender – an annual showcase of the rarest diamonds from Rio’s Argyle mine in Western Australia. The GIA classified the gem as a notable diamond with a grade of Fancy Red VS2. Argyle Pink Diamonds manager Josephine Johnson said The Argyle Everglow “represents rarity within rarity” of diamonds, and will drive the global demand from collectors.
Rio Tinto reports rough diamond output at its Argyle Mine in Australia reached 3.2 million carats in Q2 2017, representing a 7% increase over output in the first quarter of the year, but an 8% decline compared to the 3.5 million carats recovered in Q2 2017. For the first half of 2017, production fell 9% to 6.2 million carats from 6.9 million carats in the first half last year. The company attributes the decline to lower ore volumes processed following wet weather and additional maintenance required in the second quarter of this year.
After months of speculation and a rejected takeover attempt, Canadian miner Dominion Diamond Corporation has entered into an arrangement agreement with The Washington Companies to acquire all of Dominion’s outstanding common shares for US$14.25 per share in cash, or a total equity value of approximately US$1.2 billion. The transaction represents a 44 percent premium to Dominion’s unaffected share price of US$9.92 on March 17, 2017. Dominion rejected Washington's initial advance of $1.1 billion, or $13.50 a share last March, calling it "opportunistic" and saying it undervalued the company.
The Argyle diamond coin trilogy sold within a month, according to a press release from Rio Tinto. "The Australian Trilogy", is an US$1.4 million (AUD$1.8 million) one-of-a-kind coin collection featuring a pink, purple pink and violet diamond from Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia. Released by The Perth Mint, The Australian Trilogy was sold to an anonymous collector from Asia within a month of its unveiling.
Rio Tinto and The Perth Mint have showcased a A$1.8 million (US$1.36 million) one-of-a-kind coin collection featuring three coloured diamonds from the Argyle Diamond Mine. Known as The Australian Trilogy, the beautiful collectable comprises three precious metal coins each hand crafted with a pink, purple pink and violet diamond unearthed from Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mine in the east Kimberley region of Western Australia.
Rio Tinto press release: Rio Tinto has appointed Patrick Boitumelo as President and Chief operating officer, Diavik Diamond Mines. "Patrick has extensive operational, stakeholder management and corporate strategy experience at a senior level across a number of businesses in the mining industry, including diamonds, soda ash and salts, nickel, iron ore, copper and copper by-products. Most recently he was general manager of engineering and projects at Kennecott Utah Copper in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA."
Dominion Diamond Corporation today (March 17) released its guidance for sales, Adjusted EBITDA, unit operating costs, and capital and exploration expenditures for fiscal 2018 (ending January 31, 2018); they expect sales to be between $875 and $975 million, an increase of 62% compared to fiscal 2017 sales, assuming the mid-point of fiscal 2018 guidance is achieved. They reaffirmed their production guidance released earlier this year for the Ekati Diamond Mine and Diavik Diamond Mine.
Diamond industry analyst and author of the Zimnisky Global Rough Diamond Price Index, Paul Zimnisky, takes us on, "A Trip Through the Diamond Industry in March 2017." If there is one trip you make this weekend, we recommend this one.
The month of March will again see a full schedule of rough diamond tenders and sales in Antwerp.
Rio Tinto has lowered by 66% its estimate of the mineral resources available at its Argyle diamond mine in Australia: the estimate now reflects solely the current mine plan, whereas the previous estimate included resources calculated with an extension of the mine taken into account. This extension is now under review. In a statement released last week, Rio Tinto writes, "During 2016, estimated Argyle Mineral Resources exclusive of ore reserves decreased by 29 million tons (Mt), from 44Mt to 15Mt" as a result of this recalculation.
Last year Rio Tinto’s diamond revenue slid 12%, leading them to review their plans to extend the life of the Argyle diamond mine, considering the global demand for rough had otherwise strengthened, writes The West Australian. Rio Tinto spent $US2.5 billion expanding the Argyle mine below ground with an expected lifespan reaching 2021. Should they decide not to continue with the planned underground extension, the mine’s closure could come considerably sooner. They are yet to announce whether they will continue with the second stage of the underground block cave at the East Kimberley mine.
Rio Tinto has announced it will relinquish its interest in the Bunder diamond project in India "due to commercial considerations" and will gift it to the Government of Madhya Pradesh. The move is not entirely unexpected, as Rio Tinto announced back in August 2016 it would not proceed with the development of Bunder and would be seeking to close all project infrastructure.
Rio Tinto posted strong fourth quarter production in its diamond division, with increases at its Argyle Mine in Australia as well as the Diavik Mine in NWT Canada, in which Rio Tinto owns a 60 percent interest (Dominion Diamond 40%). At Argyle, Rio Tinto produced 3.6 million carats in Q4, a 6% increase over Q4 production in 2015. For the year 2016, carat production was four per cent higher than 2015 following the ramp-up of the underground mine, with higher ore throughput partially offset by a lower recovered grade. Total 2016 production at Argyle was just under 14 million carats.
Dominion Diamond Corp. reports that production from the Diavik Diamond Mine for the fourth calendar quarter of 2016 ended 10% higher than in the same quarter of the prior year, reflecting higher processing volumes that were partly offset by lower recovered grade. Under a joint arrangement, Rio Tinto operates the mine and Dominion Diamond pays 40 percent of the mine’s operating and capital costs while receiving 40 percent of the mine’s diamond output.
High price purchases of 'fancy colored' diamonds, once the almost exclusive domain of collectors and connoisseurs, have become more commonplace in recent years, writes The Wall Street Jounal, as investors seek to take advantage of soaring appreciation of these rarest of stones. "Prices are being driven higher by investors who are hoping the hot market stays hot, many of whom have been disappointed by returns from other assets, say industry insiders. Over almost eight years, from the start of 2009 to Sept.
Rio Tinto has appointed luxury Dubai-based jeweler Dhamani to become one of its Select Ateliers, an exclusive list of jewelers given direct access to Australia’s rare Argyle pink diamonds. The launch of this new appointment correlated with the brand’s new line of pink-diamond jewelry, the DPINK collection, showcasing more than US$25 million of Argyle pink diamond jewelry. “Dhamani are an exciting Middle East luxury jeweler with over four decades of heritage and superb craftsmanship,” said Josephine Johnson, manager of Argyle Pink Diamonds.
Israeli authorities have placed Israeli diamond and mining mogul Beny Steinmetz under house arrest over allegations of bribery and corruption in Guinea linked to his BSG Resources (BGSR) mining company. One of Israel’s wealthiest men, Steinmetz has been arrested in Israel over claims that he paid millions of dollars in bribes to secure mineral assets in one of the world’s poorest nations.
Diversified mining giant Rio Tinto will “robustly” defend itself against any legal action by BSG Resources (BSGR) - owned by the notorious Israeli mining figure Beny Steinmetz - which is reportedly planning to sue the company over its alleged contribution to the loss of BSG’s mining rights for the Simandou iron-ore project in Guinea, writes Mining Weekly. BSG is reportedly seeking billions of dollars in damages.
“What we want is to improve the quality of our portfolio. I would love to have more diamonds to be very explicit. That’s a priority area.”
- Rio Tinto Group chief Jean-Sebastien Jacques on wanting to expand and invest in diamond mines rather than divest.
Karelian Diamond Resources, the AIM-listed diamond exploration company focused on Finland, has published its results for the year ended 31 May 2016, "A year in which highly encouraging progress has been made towards achieving its objective to discover, or acquire, and develop diamond deposits in Finland", and has announced a proposed capital reorganization to be voted on December 9, 2016.
The Foxfire diamond is the largest known uncut, gem-quality diamond mined in North America. The diamond will be on display for three months at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, Nov. 17 through Feb. 16, 2017. This will be the first time it has been made available to the public. Weighing more than 187 carats, the Foxfire diamond will be presented alongside the renowned Hope diamond in the Harry Winston Gallery.