Rio Tinto’s consolidated sales revenue from diamonds in 2020 dropped 26% to $459 million compared with $619 million in 2019, and was 34% below 2018’s revenue of $695 million. Realised diamond prices declined by 21% on a weighted average basis, the company added.
Diamond production was 14% lower than 2019, attributable to lower carats recovered at Diavik, where a 10% reduction in grade was partially offset by an increase in tonnes processed, and the closure of Argyle, as planned, on 3rd November, Rio noted.
“In diamonds, a heavy decline in spending on jewellery impacted underlying demand, while lockdowns in India’s manufacturing centres restricted the volume of rough diamonds purchased from miners,” the company stated.
Net earnings from diamonds stood at $9 million for 2020, compared with a loss of $21 million in 2019, and earnings of $118 million in 2018.