Rio Tinto reported diamond revenue slumped 23 percent to $698 million in 2015 as market conditions drove down rough prices. Lower demand from India and China, higher rough and polished inventory and lower trade manufacturing margins forced prices to dip.
Diamond production fell 25 percent to 17.4 million carats. Rio Tinto forecast output to increase 21 percent to 21 million carats in 2016, according to a statement February 11.
The development of the new A21 kimberlite pipe at the Diavik mine in Canada is advancing as planned and will provide an “important source of incremental production” to maintain current volume levels up to the end of mine life. A21 is estimated to cost $350 million, including Rio Tinto’s share of $210 million, with first production expected in 2018.
Production from Diavik, of which Rio Tinto owns 60 percent, fell 11 percent to 3.8 million carats in 2015. Output from the 100-percent owned Argyle mine in Australia soared 47 percent to 13.5 million carats, 2015, Rio Tinto reported last month.