Diamond Production Updates

Rio Tinto’s Diamond Production Flat in 3Q

Rio Tinto’s diamond production reached 3.534 million carats in the third quarter of 2011, in line with its output one year earlier, the company reported.

Production at Rio Tinto’s wholly-owned Argyle mine in Australia fell 5 percent to 2.302 million carats, while its 60 percent share of production at the Diavik mine in Canada increased 8 percent to 1.160 million carats. Output at the Murowa mine in Zimbabwe, in which Rio Tinto owns a 78 percent stake, grew 71 percent to 72,000 carats.

During the first nine months of the year, Rio Tinto’s diamond production fell 18 percent to 8.766 million carats. The company expects its share of production to reach 13 million for the full year, which would be 6 percent below output in 2010.

Diavik 3Q Production +8%

Production at the Diavik mine in Canada rose 8 percent year on year to 1.9 million carats in the third quarter of 2011. Growth came due to an increase in the overall grade of ore processed, reported Harry Winston, which owns 40 percent of the mine. Rio Tinto holds the remaining 60 percent stake.

During the first nine months of the year, output from the mine rose 2 percent year on year to 5.1 million carats and the mine is expected to add another 1.8 million carats in the fourth quarter.

Harry Winston reported that it held two partial rough diamond sales during its third fiscal quarter, which doesn’t end until October 31, but deferred significant sales to the fourth quarter and possibly subsequent periods due to unstable market conditions.

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