Sunday, May 19, 2024

Rio Tinto’s Q1 Diamond Production Decline Linked to Memorial Pause

London—Rio Tinto disclosed a notable 22 percent year-over-year decrease in production during the first quarter at its Diavik Diamond Mine, its sole remaining diamond operation.


In Q1, the mine yielded 740,000 carats, contrasting with 954,000 carats mined during the same period in 2023.


Rio Tinto recently released first-quarter results for Diavik, along with outcomes from its iron ore, bauxite, aluminum, and copper operations.

In their news release, the company prominently addressed a tragic event that occurred in January—an airplane crash resulting in the loss of six lives, including four Diavik employees and two airline crew members.

“We have been deeply affected by the loss of four Diavik colleagues and two airline crew members in a plane crash in January,” expressed Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm. “This tragedy has strengthened our resolve to never be complacent about safety.”

The crash involved a chartered Jetstream twin-turboprop aircraft en route to the remote Diavik mine, which tragically crashed shortly after departing from Fort Smith Airport in the Northwest Territories on January 23. Rio Tinto confirmed ongoing collaboration with Canadian authorities to ascertain the precise cause of the incident.

In memory and respect for the deceased workers, the mine initiated a “production pause,” contributing to the observed 22 percent year-over-year reduction in production.

Quarter-to-quarter, there was a 12 percent increase in production compared to the 659,000 carats mined in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Rio Tinto attributed the sustained production improvement to activities at the A154 North underground pipe and ore development at the A21 underground project, which partially offset the depletion of two ore bodies in the previous year.

In March, the company announced plans to commence underground operations at the A21 pipe—a significant multi-million-dollar endeavor. Pending full approval, this project is expected to extend Diavik’s operational lifespan into the first quarter of 2026.


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