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Rio Tinto’s diamond production up 25% in 2015
Earnings drop 30%
By: Diamond World News Service
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Feb 12 2016 8:37AM
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Reference: 12676  

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In 2015, Rio Tinto’s diamond production grew 25 percent to 17,392,000 carats from 13,872,000 carats in 2014. The company attributed this to the higher volumes at Argyle from the continued ramp-up of production from the underground mine offsetting lower carats recovered at Diavik.

In 2016, Rio Tinto expects diamond production to be at 21 million carats

In the year, in June, the company completed the sale of its interest in the Murowa diamond mine in Zimbabwe.

For the full year 2015, the company’s earnings slipped 30 percent to US$189 million from US$269 million in 2014. This was attributed to weak industry rough diamond prices, driven by lower demand from India and China, higher rough and polished diamond inventory, and lower trade manufacturing margins. In its developments, the company noted that development of the A21 kimberlite pipe at Diavik is advancing as planned and will provide an important source of incremental production to maintain current volume levels up to the end of mine life. First production at A21 is expected in 2018.

Rio Tinto chief executive Sam Walsh said “Against a highly challenging environment, Rio Tinto delivered a strong performance in 2015 with underlying earnings of $4.5 billion.” He further noted that, “The continued deterioration in the macro environment has generated widespread market uncertainty. We are embarking on a new round of proactive measures to cut our operating costs by a further $1 billion in 2016 followed by an additional goal of $1 billion in 2017. We are also reducing our capital expenditure to $4 billion in 2016 and $5 billion in 2017, an overall reduction of $3 billion compared with our previous guidance.”

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