HomeDiamonds & GemstonesRio Tinto considering divestment of diamond interests

Rio Tinto considering divestment of diamond interests

Rio Tinto’s open-pit
Murowa diamond mine
in Zimbabwe has been
in operation since 2004
London, England — 27 March 2012 – International mining giant Rio Tinto has launched a strategic review of its diamond business that will include exploration of a full range of options for potential divestment of its diamond interests.

Rio Tinto operates three diamond mines “’ Argyle in Australia, in which it has a full 100% interest; Diavik in Canada, with a 60% stake; and Murowa in Zimbabwe, in which it holds a 78% interest. It also fully owns Bunder, “’ an advanced diamond project in India.

Chief executive, diamonds and minerals Harry Kenyon-Slaney explained: “We regularly review our businesses to ensure they remain aligned with Rio Tinto’s strategy of operating large, long-life, expandable assets.”

He described the diamond market outlook as very positive, with demand growing strongly and lack of new discoveries limiting supply. “We have a valuable, high quality diamond business, but given its scale we are reviewing whether we can create more value through a different ownership structure.”

Kenyon-Slaney pointed out that the process might take some time. “We’re committed to keeping stakeholders informed about any key developments, and in the meantime are reassuring employees and the governments in the states and countries where we operate that it is very much business as usual.”

Rio Tinto is one of the world’s major diamond producers through its three mines allow the company to produce the full range of diamonds for all market segments. The company’s share of the production from its three operating diamond mines is sold through its sales and marketing headquarters in Antwerp, with representative offices in Mumbai, Hong Kong and New York. It also operates a niche cutting and polishing factory in Perth for the rare pink diamonds from its Argyle mine.

Rio Tinto is a leading supporter of the Kimberley Process, as well as a founding member of Responsible Jewellery Council.

Source: Rio Tinto. For further details click here.