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Rio Tinto Diamond Revenue Slides

February 21, 2021

RAPAPORT... Rio Tinto’s rough-diamond sales fell 26% to $459 million in 2020 as the coronavirus crisis limited global trading, the mining group reported.

“A heavy decline in spending on jewelry impacted underlying demand, while lockdowns in India’s manufacturing centers restricted the volume of rough diamonds purchased from miners,” Rio Tinto said last week.

Realized diamond prices slid 21%, it added. However, net earnings for the diamond division came to $9 million, compared with a $21 million loss in 2019.

Diamond production dropped 14% to 14.7 million carats, reflecting a 10% reduction in the grade at the Diavik mine in Canada, which outweighed an increase in the quantity of ore the company processed. The decline also resulted from the closure of the Argyle deposit in Australia on November 3. With Argyle now off stream, the company has forecasted 2021 output of 3 million to 3.8 million carats from its 40% share of Diavik, compared with 3.7 million carats in 2020.

Image: An aerial view of the Diavik mine. (Diavik Diamond Mines)

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