Rio Tinto Reports on Argyle

It seems almost impossible that champagne—a.k.a. chocolate—and fancy vivid-pink diamonds may soon be history, but this is the reality of gem mining. Confirming what was written in our February gem feature (see “Argyle Is Still in the Pink, But Maybe Not for Long,” JCK, February 2005, p. 88), a brief report by mining giant Rio Tinto notes that the Argyle Mine, Kimberley, Australia, is indeed slowing down dramatically. The 2004 production figures show a decline of almost 40 percent, from 33.5 million cts. in 2003 to 20.6 million cts. in 2004. Argyle, which has been mining diamonds since 1983, is quietly predicting 2007 as its last year of operation.