By Michelle Graff
Kimberley Diamonds has closed its Ellendale Diamond Mine in northwest Australia and placed the subsidiary that owns the mining license into voluntary administration.
 Sydney--Kimberley Diamonds Ltd. has suspended operation of the Ellendale Diamond Mine in northwest Australia, attributing its decision to lower revenues from a decline in grades of recovered diamonds.

The company said that both the decrease in quality of the stones and the lower size distributions have resulted in the diamonds selling for less. This was especially true at a recent auction held in Antwerp, where prices were significantly lower than forecasted after a sharp decline in the rough diamond market. 

The subsidiary, Kimberley Diamond Company Pty Ltd. (KDC), which holds the Ellendale mining license, has been placed into voluntary administration.

Sule Arnautovic, Trajan John Kukulovski and Chris Williamson of corporate business advisory company Jirsch Sutherland were appointed as administrators of KDC, effective immediately.  

It is unclear at this time exactly what will happen to the company going forward. 

Kimberley did not respond to a request for comment by press time. 

And Tiffany & Co., which signed an agreement for the supply and sale of the fancy yellow diamond production from Ellendale in December 2009, did not respond to a request for comment on how the closure of the mine will impact its supply of yellow diamonds going forward.

The retailer launched its Yellow Diamond collection in the U.S. market at its flagship store in New York City in September 2010. 

The Ellendale Mining Lease, which covered 123.9 square kilometers, is located in the West Kimberley region of Western Australia. Diamonds were first discovered at the site in 1976, and, up until now, it has produced an estimated 50 percent of the world’s fancy yellow diamond supply, according to Kimberley.

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