Rio Tinto’s diamond production steady despite covid-19

Diavik diamond mine in Canada. (Image courtesy of Rio Tinto).

The world’s second-largest miner, Rio Tinto (ASX, LON, NYSE: RIO), issued a statement saying that despite the challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic, its diamond mines in Australia and Canada have continued to produce and market gemstones.

To be able to do so, extensive controls have been put in place at both operations. Such measures involve a combination of testing, screening, sanitizing, and social distancing.

“I am really proud of the way our sites have pivoted with the challenges of producing diamonds in a pandemic,” Sinead Kaufman, managing director operations for Rio’s copper and diamond mines, said in the press release. “By keeping our miners safe at Argyle and Diavik, we have been able to support a wide array of stakeholders including community partners, customers, suppliers, and governments.” 

According to Kaufman, since the beginning of the global health crisis, the company’s sales and marketing teams have implemented safety measures to maintain a safe flow of diamonds through its Antwerp and Perth offices.

“The recent Rio Tinto Specials Tender in Antwerp offered a combination of large rough Argyle and Diavik diamonds and saw solid participation and sale results. Included in the Specials Tender was a 70.36 carat white diamond from the Diavik mine, attracting strong competing bids,” Kaufman said.

“The two largest white rough diamonds from the Argyle mine, weighing 42.62 carats and 41.70 carats and collectively known as The Brilliant Lights of Argyle, were also sold through this Tender, demonstrating underlying confidence in rare, high-quality natural diamonds, even in the most challenging market conditions.”

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