By Lenore Fedow
The Argyle Mine in Western Australia, known for its pink and red diamonds, is expected to close in 2020.
London—Rio Tinto released its second quarter production numbers Thursday, posting mixed results from its diamond mines.

Production at the Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia totaled 3.3 million carats, down 5 percent in the second quarter compared with the previous year’s second quarter.

The London-based mining company pointed to the lower grade of the diamonds recovered as a factor in the decline, but said it was somewhat offset by stronger mining rates.

For the first half of the year, carat production at the wholly-owned mine was down 13 percent compared with the previous half-year results to 6.1 million carats.

The company plans to close the Argyle mine in 2020, when it is expected to stop producing diamonds economically.

Notable for its pink and red diamonds, its upcoming closure has sent prices for pinks and reds skyrocketing.

This year’s Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, an annual sale of the best pink, red and violet stones to emerge from the mine, features 64 diamonds, weighing 56.28 total carats.

At the Diavik mine in Canada, in which Rio Tinto has a 60 percent stake, production totaled 1.2 million tons in the three-month period, up 3 percent compared with the previous second quarter due in part to “slightly higher grades.”

For the half-year, carat production at Diavik was down about 1 percent to 2.2 million tons.

The company spent $287 million on exploration and evaluation, pre-tax and pre-divestment in the first half of the year, compared with $232 million in the first half of 2018.

While more than half of the expenditure went toward central exploration, approximately 38 percent of the money was spent recovering copper and diamonds.

Diamond production guidance for 2019 is between 15 million and 17 million carats.

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