Rio Tinto has cut positions from its Argyle diamond mine as CEO Sam Walsh reiterates his love for the gem.
The miner has reportedly cut up to 40 jobs from its Argyle diamond mine in the Kimberley following a cut in guidance, according to The West Australian.
"Like others in the mining industry, the Argyle Diamond Mine is focused on reducing costs and streamlining its operations. Argyle has decided to reduce some support roles in the business as part of its ongoing work to ensure it has a competitive strategy and a sustainable cost base," a spokesperson told The West.
The move comes as Rio Tinto CEO Sam Walsh told Bloomberg :”I love diamonds.”
“I think it’s a seriously good business and as you go forward the opportunities for that are seriously good. It’s not an asset that I would like to divest of, no. It’s an asset that I would like to nurture,” Walsh said.
His comments came on the back of questions regarding the divestment of Rio Tinto’s diamond holdings.
In 2012 Rio Tinto began pushing its diamonds business on to the market as the sector went through a strained period, announcing a strategic review of its diamond assets.
From that point Rio began slashing jobs at Argyle, cutting around 500 jobs in the space of 12 months.
Since that time Rio Tinto focused on the development of Argyle and its transformation from an open cut operation into an underground block cave mine.
However this evolution has hit a number of roadblocks, most recently seeing ongoing problems with its underground crushers, which have had maintenance issues.
Despite these hurdles Rio Tinto is still forecasting Argyle to reach full capacity next year.