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Rio Tinto to step up supply of roughs to India
26
Dec '05
For the Rs 6,600-crore Indian diamond industry, '06 will kick off on quite a cheerful note.The supply of fancy pink and other types of solitaires could increase in '06 in India as Rio Tinto, which supplies close to 20 percent of rough diamonds to India, has decided to get into underground mining.

This move is expected to help sustain the supply of rough diamonds from the diamond mining company, which was otherwise facing the threat of disruption after '08. Supplies could have been snapped after '08 as the reserves in the existing open mine would have been fairly used up.

The Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) had taken up this issue with the Australian government, considering that the fate of some 2,500 people who are involved in diamond cutting and polishing was at stake in India after '08. Bakul Mehta, chairman, GJEPC told that the move by Rio Tinto could fuel further growth and investment in the diamond industry.

The new development will ensure a steady supply of Rio Tinto diamonds for at least the next 12-15 years. “This is a particularly good decision for the East Kimberly Area, the Indian cutting and polishing industry and for the fashion jewellery industry,” said Liigh Clifford, chief executive, Rio Tinto.

Rio Tinto has decided to foray into underground mining at its wholly owned Argyle diamond mine in Kimberley, Western Australia. According to reports an additional $150m outlay will be made also for open pit mining activity. This will facilitate continuity of production in case the open-pit mining is shut.

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