Rio Tinto may have found a buyer for its Diavik diamond mine

North American diamond miner Harry Winston (NYSE:HWD) has flagged an interest in buying up Canada's Diavik diamond mine from Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) as the diversified mining giant seeks to divest itself of its diamond division.

Fairfax reports that Harry Winston, which currently holds a 40% in Diavik, said that it would be willing to buy up the 60% majority stake held by Rio Tinto "as long as the price is right."

Harry Winston's expression of interest arrives just following news that the mine's Q4 output gained 19% on a year-on-year basis, hitting 1.9 million carats compared to 1.6 million carats during the same period the year previously.

Rio Tinto and fellow mining giant BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) have long sought to divest themselves of their interests in the diamond industry on the grounds that they comprise a trifling distraction compared to their mainstay commodities.

Harry Winston is one of the most likely candidates for the purchase of any divested diamond interests, as a specialist diamond player with a long history in the industry and exposure to all stages of production and sale.

In November Harry Winston took up an 80% stake in BHP Billiton's Ekati diamond mine in Canada for the hefty consideration of half a billion US dollars.