Rio Tinto lowered its diamond production forecast for this year even though output at its flagship Argyle mine in Australia rose in the first half.
The company now expects to recover between 18 and 21 million carats, down from an initial forecast of 21 million carats, following a restructuring that saw the group merge its diamonds and copper businesses. Despite the cut, output will still be above last year’s 17.4 million carats as Rio Tinto continues to ramp up underground mining at Argyle.
That said - a planned shutdown of the company’s Diavik processing plant for maintenance purposes led to lower availability of ore from the Canada-based mine. Consequently, group production in the second quarter fell by 5 percent to 4.436 million carats.
Production at Diavik slumped 26 percent during the quarter, with Rio Tinto’s share amounting to 948,000 carats. The company owns a 60 percent stake in Diavik, with Dominion Diamond Corp holding the remaining share. Production at Argyle climbed 3 percent to 3.489 million carats, with higher ore volumes partially offset by lower grades, Rio Tinto explained.
The group’s diamond production advanced 2 percent to 8.959 million carats in the first half.