Argyle Decline Weighs on Rio Tinto Output

Perth: Rio Tinto’s diamond production fell in the first quarter, as its Argyle mine in Australia yielded a reduced volume and lower grade of ore.

Group output dropped 8% year on year to 4.152 million carats for the three month period, with Argyle’s production down 11% to 3.016 million carats, Rio Tinto reported Thursday. Argyle’s operations shifted underground in 2013, helping extend the life of mine to 2020.

Rio Tinto also owns 60% of the Diavik mine in Canada, where first-quarter production was in line with the previous year at 1.136 million carats. Dominion Diamond Corporation owns the remaining 40% of Diavik.

Rio Tinto maintained its forecast to recover between 19 million and 24 million carats this year, representing an increase from the 17.953 million carats it mined in 2016.