Diamond production at Rio Tinto declines 12% in Q4


Rio Tinto Group reported a 15% decline in diamond production in 2018 as compared to the previous year in its production results for the quarter ending December 31, 2018, and the full year that was released last week.
The miner reported that production declined in Q4 2018 by 12% over the previous quarter, and attributed the drop mainly on account of Argyle, where annual carat production was 18% lower than in 2017, and where Q4 production fell by 47% to 3.21 mn cts as compared to 6.15 mn cts a year earlier. According to Rio Tinto, the drop was because production in 2017 was enhanced by the processing of higher grade alluvial tailings.
The miner reported that the total production for the year, inclusive of Argyle, which is 100% owned by Rio Tinto, and its share of the Diavik mine, owned 60% only by Rio Tinto, stood at 18.4 mn cts, as against the 21.6 mn carats produced in 2017.
At Diavik, carats recovered in 2018 at 4.36 mn cts was 3% lower than the 4.49 mn cts recovered in 2017. The marginal drop was attributed to lower recovered grade, which was partially offset by higher ore processing. The A21 project successfully mined first ore in March 2018 and reached commercial production during the fourth quarter.
Rio Tinto attributes the diamond production decline mainly on account of lower carat production at its Argyle mine in Australia, which is nearing the end of its productive mine life. Rio Tinto said that production guidance for 2019 was between 15 and 17 mn carats.
Aruna Gaitonde, Editor in Chief of the Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished 

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