Rio Tinto’s diamond revenue slid 12 percent last year even as global rough demand strengthened.
Sales of diamonds dropped to $613 million, the company reported. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) fell 18 percent to $239 million, while net income plummeted 41 percent to $47 million.
The decline is at odds with the increase in sales seen at other comparable miners, with De Beers rough-diamond revenue jumping an estimated 36 percent in 2016, according to Rapaport News calculations. ALROSA said sales advanced 26 percent.
Rio Tinto owns the Argyle mine in Australia, known for its production of rare fancy pink diamonds and a high volume of lower-quality rough. It also has a 60 percent stake in the Diavik mine in Canada in partnership with Dominion Diamond Corporation.
“Overall demand for rough diamonds recovered in 2016 from a cyclical downturn in the previous year, varying significantly across product segments,” the miner noted.
Rough-diamond output grew 4 percent to 18 million carats last year. The company forecast production will rise to between 19 million and 24 million carats in 2017.