Rio Tinto’s rough diamonds go under the hammer

Some of Rio Tinto’s largest rough diamonds from three of its operating diamond mines have gone under the hammer.

The miner said it is delighted with the results of its “Specials” tender, which offered up diamonds greater than 10.8 carats in gem qualities, mined in Australia, Canada and Zimbabwe, up for sale.

The tender which ran from October 3 to October 24 in Antwerp and Israel included 104 parcels of diamonds, including large cognac diamonds from the company’s Argyle mine in Western Australia.

The most valuable diamond was a 74 carat diamond from the Murowa mine in Zimbabwe.

Patrick Coppens, general manager of sales for Rio Tinto Diamonds said the Specials Tender results reflect the "strong demand and resilience for diamonds at this end of the market".

More than 100 diamond specialists from around the world were invited to bid on the tender.

“Thirty-four companies were successful with strong representation from Israel,” Rio Tinto said.

Rio Tinto is one of the world’s major diamond producers and the only mining company that sells its diamonds by mine and country of origin.

The miner holds a 100 per cent stake in both the Australian Argyle mineand the Bunder project in India.

It also controls 60 per cent of the Diavik mine in Canada, and has a 78 per cent interest in the Murowa mine in Zimbabwe.

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