Argyle closure to offset 2021 diamond production lift

The Argyle pink diamonds signature tender 2020 collection. Image: Rio Tinto.

Australia is one of four countries responsible for the substantial decrease in rough diamond production during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Global production dropped by 28 million carats (or 20 per cent) last year, a decline that was largely driven by Russia, Canada, Botswana and Australia.

Rio Tinto’s closure of the Argyle mine in Western Australia in November has contributed to this fall.

Management consulting firm Bain & Company, in a report commissioned by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, predicted that Argyle’s closure would offset production increases from mines that were reopening this year.

Bain stated that production would also likely grow by up to 2 per cent a year during the next three to five years, allowing the value chain to fully rebalance.

Chinese diamond jewellery retail market would recover in early 2021, followed by the recovery of other developed countries in 2022-23.

“Our research found that more than 75 per cent of consumers intend to spend the same amount or more on diamond jewellery than before the crisis, indicating a strong, ongoing emotional connection with the diamond story,” Bain’s Energy and Natural Resources partner Olya Linde said.

Rough diamond production reached its peak levels in 2017 and 2018 before falling by 5 per cent to 139 million carats in 2019.

Sales decreased by 18 per cent before the market started to improve towards the end of 2019, but this was halted due to the pandemic.

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