Diamond production at Rio Tinto dropped 18% year on year in the first quarter of 2019, as the miner recovered lower-grade ore at its two deposits.
Production came to 3.8 million carats for the three months ending March 31, the company said Tuesday. The Argyle mine in Australia yielded 2.8 million carats, a 22% decrease compared to the same period last year. The decline was due to the processing of lower-grade ore.
Rio Tinto’s share of production at Diavik fell 5% to 1 million carats. The lower grades recovered at the deposit were partially offset by higher ore processing, the miner said. Rio Tinto owns a 60% stake in the Canadian facility, with Dominion Diamond Mines holding the remainder.
Rio Tinto expects to produce 15 million to 17 million carats in 2019, compared to 18.4 million carats last year.
Image: An aerial view of the Diavik mine. (Rio Tinto)