The world’s third largest mining company, the Rio Tinto Group is to resume work on its expansion plans at the Argyle diamond mine next year. The resumption of the expansion plans follows recovery in the global jewelry demand.
According to the Chief Operating Officer, Kevin McLeish, underground production at Argyle, the world’s largest diamond mine should start in 2013.
According to Bloomberg, diamond prices are rebounding after a slump. Russian ZAO Alrosa and London based De Beers and Rio Tinto have all restarted their mines and increased their processing capacity over the past 3 months. This follows the growing demand for jewelry in China and India and in anticipation of the economic recovery in the USA.
McLeish said “Given the price and recovery forecast, we will see a significant improvement in the performance of the diamond group within Rio through 2010.”
The Argyle mine is presently operating at full capacity of 8 million metric tons a year. Its processing facilities were shut down from January to June 2009.
According to the Rapaport Diamond Trade Index, diamond prices have risen by 4% from a low on March 30th.