Rio Tinto pushes Argyle pink diamonds into global market

Rio Tinto has announced its first rough diamond tender for 2014.

The tender consists of 124 lots of diamond, which includes the extremely rare, pink stones from the Argyle mine in Western Australia.

Other gems of interest include large, dark brown diamonds and fancy, intense yellow diamonds from Argyle; diamonds from Murowa mine in Zimbabwe; as well as purple diamonds and a 70 carat white diamond from the Diavik mine in canada

The tender will be held in Israel and Antwerp until March 28, although the Israel show has been fully booked.

Rio Tinto Diamonds general manager of sales Patrick Coppens said there is continued strong global demands for their precious gems.

Steady demand in the United States, and a growing market in China and India has caused commentators to predict a gap in supply and demand by 2018, which will send rough diamond prices through the roof.

The Global Diamond Industry Report 2013 forecast that rough diamond production will grow at an average annual rate of 4.8 per cent until 2018, however authors Bain & Co. have indicated that by 2019 this figure should begin to drop at a rate of 1.9 per cent each year, to level out by 2023.

Research centre Ibisworld has predicted a boom for the Australian diamond industry in 2014, on top of all Australian industries with an anticipated 24 per cent growth on 2013.

Ibisworld Australia general manager Karen Dobie said Australia’s production and export of diamonds will increase significantly over 2014.

“High quality stones as a share of total output is expected to increase, which will have a positive impact on total industry revenue,” Dobie said.

The Argyle mine in Western Australia produces more than 90 per cent of the world supply of pink diamonds, which are cut and polished in India, and mostly sold in Antwerp.

Rio Tinto has targeted China as a fast-growing market, thanks to its burgeoning middle class.

Rio expects China to become the second biggest diamond consumer, after the US, and account for nearly a third of the global demand for diamond jewellery.

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