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Rio Tinto Delays Processing from Argyle Mine, Cuts 2015 Production Forecast

Oct 18, 2015 6:49 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Rio Tinto has put final product processing at its Argyle mine on hold in the fourth quarter in response to market conditions. As a result it has reduced the forecast of its annual share of diamond production for 2015 from 20 million to 18 million carats.

The development comes amid a 20.5 percent increase in the miner’s diamond production in the third quarter to September 30 to 4.275 million carats. Most of the increase was a result of a 43.1 percent jump in production at Argyle to 3.514 million carats, while production at Diavik fell 24.2 percent to 761,000 carats, according to a statement posted on its website October 16.

The group said the main focus at Argyle had been the ramp-up of production from the underground mine, while at Diavik, lower processing volumes and lower recovered grades from the A418 and A154N pipes led to the production drop, according to the statement.

Rio Tinto owns all of the Arygle mine in Western Australia and 60 percent of Diavik in the Northwest Territories, Canada.

The quarterly figures no longer include the Murowa mine, which was majority-owned by Rio Tinto until it sold its 77.8 percent stake in the Zimbabwe site in June. It produced 90,000 carats in the third quarter of 2014. A statement by its new owner RioZim stated that “no significant mining” was carried out there in the half year to June 30, adding that operations would restart in the fourth quarter after nine months of stoppage but that losses were expected to continue into 2016. Zimbabwe’s Nehanda Radio reported October 16 that the mine had now closed.

Meanwhile, Rio Tinto’s diamond production for the nine months to September was 13.126 million carats, a 19 percent increased on the same period of 2014. Production at Argyle for the year to date was 10.105 million carats, 37 percent up on 2014, while Diavik production fell 13.7 percent to 2.945 million carats. It produced 77,000 carats at Murowa in 2015 while it was under Rio Tinto ownership, 68 percent less than in the first nine months of 2014.
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Tags: Argyle, Australia, Diavik, Pink diamonds, Production, Rapaport News
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