Rio Tinto 2011 Diamond Production Drops 15%January 17, 12
Argyle was source of 7.4 million carats of diamonds in 2011, a 24 percent decline compared to 2010, Rio Tinto reported Tuesday in a Fourth quarter operations review.
Production at Argyle was down 14 percent in the fourth quarter of due to maintenance shutdowns in the processing plant. Year on year production at Argyle was down 24 per cent due to these shutdowns and the impact of heavy rains and flooding in March 2011, the company stated.
Rio Tinto’s 60 percent share of production at Diavik was 4 million in 2011, a 3 percent increase. Production in the fourth quarter was 961,000 carats, 4 percent higher than the fourth quarter of 2010. The increase is attributed to higher throughput partly offset by lower grades.
The 77.8 percent holding in the Murowa mine in Zimbabwe was source of 285,000 carats, a doubling of production compared to 2010.
In December, a further $0.5 billion of capital was approved for the Argyle underground project, bringing the total approved amount to $2.1 billion. This increase primarily reflected project development delays caused by a record 2010/11 wet season and adverse exchange rate movements.
Planned to be completed in 2013, Argyle’s production is expected to rise significantly once the underground project is completed.