Rio Tinto discovers Australia's biggest rough pink diamond at Argyle

Perth, February 21, 2012 –¬†Australia's biggest pink rough diamond has been discovered at Rio Tinto's Argyle mine, the world's largest producer of rare pink diamonds.

The 12.76 carat diamond was unearthed at the Argyle open pit in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia.

The diamond will be known as The Argyle Pink Jubilee.

The Argyle Pink Jubilee is a light pink diamond, similar in colour to The Williamson Pink, which is the diamond that Her Majesty The Queen received as a wedding gift and was subsequently set into a brooch for her Coronation.

Expert diamond polisher Richard How Kim Kam, who has worked for Argyle for 25 years, started work on polishing the amazing pink diamond in Perth today.

After two months of careful assessment and planning, it will take about 10 days to cut and polish the diamond as a single stone. Richard said "I'm going to take it very carefully. I know the world will be watching."

When the diamond has been cut and polished it will be graded by a team of international experts and showcased to the world before being sold as part of the iconic Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender later this year.

Argyle Pink Diamonds Manager Josephine Johnson said "This rare diamond is generating incredible excitement. A diamond of this calibre is unprecedented – it has taken 26 years of Argyle production to unearth this stone and we may never see one like this again. The individual who gets to wear this remarkable pink diamond will be incredibly lucky indeed."

More than 90 per cent of the world's pink diamonds come from the Argyle mine.

Large pink diamonds tend to go to museums, are gifted to royalty or end up at auction houses like Christie's auctions. Christie's has only auctioned 18 polished pink diamonds over 10 carats in its 244 year history.

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and New York Stock Exchange listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, thermal and metallurgical coal, uranium, gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide and salt) and iron ore. Activities span the world and are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America.

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