“Fifty years in the past there have been only a few individuals who believed there have been diamonds in Australia – even fewer may have foreseen how the Argyle story would unfold,” he stated.
“To reach at this closing chapter has required imaginative and prescient, braveness and willpower to beat important challenges to enter new territory in diamond exploration, mining and advertising.”
The Argyle orebody was found in 1979 and since operations started in 1983 it has produced 865 million carats of tough diamonds. Open-cut mining started in 1985 and the underground operation began in 2013.
The mine website will now bear decommissioning and rehabilitation, which was anticipated to take 5 years.
Argyle basic supervisor Andrew Wilson stated the mine was a novel Australian success story.
“A brand new chapter will now start as we begin the method of respectfully closing the Argyle mine and rehabilitating the land, to be handed again to its conventional custodians,” he stated.
Over the previous 18 months, Rio Tinto has been working a ‘life after Argyle’ program for its employees that has seen some take redundancies and about 70 retrained and redeployed within the firm’s iron ore enterprise. The present headcount on the website is 270, which is able to cut back to 200 because it enters the ‘make secure stage’. Through the rehabilitation stage, Rio Tinto expects the contracting workforce to peak at round 350.
Solely 5 per cent of Argyle’s manufacturing is taken into account adequate to make use of in jewelry and of that 5 per cent, just one in 10,000 gems is pink.
Australian Diamond Portfolio final week launched one of many closing collections of pink diamonds from the mine and anticipated their worth to skyrocket with the closure of the mine.
Australian Diamond Portfolio principal advisor and grasp diamond polisher David Burger stated the jury was nonetheless out on how the pink diamonds obtained their color.
“Different diamonds get their color from chemical impurities that take in gentle, nevertheless, no comparable impurities have been present in pink diamonds, main scientists to take a position that the color could also be the results of some form of seismic shock that altered the stone’s molecular construction as a substitute,” he stated.
“Since pink diamonds have a extra difficult construction than white diamonds, they will take three to 4 instances as lengthy to shine. Engaged on stones as uncommon as those discovered within the Argle (and price thousands and thousands of too) requires sturdy nerves, talent, persistence and expertise.”
Hamish Hastie is WAtoday’s enterprise reporter.