Rio Tinto’s diamond production rose in 2022 after the miner took full ownership of the Diavik deposit in Canada.
Total production grew 21% to 4.7 million carats for the full year, the company said Tuesday. Rio Tinto assumed 100% control of Diavik in November 2021 following the inability of its joint-venture partner, Dominion Diamond Mines, to pay its share of the asset’s upkeep. Previously, Rio Tinto owned 60% of the mine, with Dominion holding the remainder. A decline in ore processing offset the positive impact of the larger stake, the company explained.
In the fourth quarter, output increased 14% to 1.3 million carats.
Diavik is Rio Tinto’s sole diamond mine following the closure of Australia’s Argyle mine in November 2020. In June, the company put its Star-Orion South exploration project on hold through the end of the year while it weighed a possible exit from the joint venture with Star Diamond. It expects to announce that decision shortly.
Meanwhile, the company plans to produce between 3 million and 3.8 million carats of rough from Diavik in 2023. The figure, which is well below last year’s total, reflects the winding down of the Canada deposit, which is due to reach its end of life in 2025.
Image: The Diavik mine. (Rio Tinto)