Sourcing

Rio Tinto’s Diamond Production Down 16% in Q2

SourcingJul 20, 2023

Rio Tinto’s Diamond Production Down 16% in Q2

The mining company said the decline at Diavik was due to work being done on one of the pipes and the open pit.

Rough diamonds from Diavik Diamond Mine
Rough diamonds from Rio Tinto’s Diavik Diamond Mine in Canada. Production at the mine was down 16 percent year-over-year in the second quarter but increased slightly when compared with the first quarter. (Photo courtesy of Rio Tinto)
Melbourne, Australia—Rio Tinto said Wednesday that production at the Diavik Diamond Mine fell 16 percent year-over-year in the second quarter but increased 2 percent when compared with Q1.

Diavik, which Rio Tinto took sole ownership of in late 2021, produced 970,000 carats of diamonds in the second quarter, down from 1.1 million in the prior-year period but up from 954,000 in the first quarter.

Rio Tinto said completion of an underground pipe as well as construction in an area of the mine’s open pit were the reasons for the decline.

Diavik, which is located in Canada’s Northwest Territories, is comprised of four diamond-bearing pipes, which Rio Tinto mines using a combination of open-pit and underground mining.

The company announced earlier this year it was going underground on another pipe at Diavik, A21. It anticipates the expansion will extend the life of the mine into the first quarter of 2026.  
 
Rio Tinto’s annual production guidance for Diavik for this year remains unchanged at 3 million to 3.8 million carats, down from the 4.7 million carats mined there in 2022.

 Related stories will be right here … 

Outside of Diavik, Rio Tinto said the bulk of the money it spent on exploration in Q2 went toward looking for diamonds in Angola, along with copper in Australia, Colombia, Chile, Zambia, Peru, the United States, and Kazakhstan.

It also said it still is looking to pull out of Falcon, a joint venture project with Star Diamond in Saskatchewan, Canada. The project currently is on care and maintenance.

Mining Weekly reported on Rio Tinto’s desire to exit Falcon last fall

The company did not make any statements about the diamond market specifically in its Q2 production results release, but it did note that commodity prices fell in the second quarter amid slowing demand. 

The economic recovery in China has fallen short of expectations, as the real estate slump continues to weigh on the economy and consumers remain wary of spending. 

Regarding the U.S. market, it said, “The U.S. economy is still growing and the labor market remains resilient, but a recession is still likely later this year. 

“Past tightening of monetary policy and tighter lending standards are expected to constrain consumer spending, hiring and business investment. Inflation remains a challenge for the Federal Reserve, given pressure in the services sector.” 

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