Argyle diamond production up 87% in Q2

Rio Tinto anticipates recovery of 15.7 million carats in 2013.

Rio Tinto has released its Q2 2013 operations review with production up at both its Argyle and Murowa mines as well as an increase in the recovery of higher grade material.

The number of carats recovered at the Argyle mine in Australia was up 87% compared to Q2 2012, totalling 3,130,000 carats. These figures are reflect an increase in tonnes processed and higher grades from the underground mine at Argyle that was inaugurated in April this year.

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While production at Rio Tinto’s Murowa mine was up by 21%, the diamond producer’s Canadian diamond mine, Diavik, recovered 13% less in terms of carats compared to Q2 2012 as a result of lower grades of ore mined during the quarter.

With a view to H2 totals, the Argyle mine’s production in terms of carats mines was up 28% compared to H1 2012, while Diavik and Murowa were up 3% and 20% respectively.

Rio Tinto’s review said: "The transition to a fully underground mine at Diavik was successfully completed in June, with production from all three kimberlite pipes now underway… Wet weather associated with unseasonal rainfall in June 2013 impacted second quarter salt production, reducing it by 10% compared with the same period of 2012".

Looking ahead to the second half of the year Rio Tinto says its share of production is expected to be 15.7 million carats of diamonds.

Rio Tinto’s H1 underlying results for 2012 reported diamond and minerals revenue up 12% to US$350 million (£225m) compared to H1 2011.

The diamond and mineral sector’s underlying earnings of $203 million (£130m) were 107% higher than H1 2011.



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