Rio Tinto has decided to retain its diamonds business after concluding a strategic review which considered a range of options, including potential divestment.
Rio Tinto Diamonds & Minerals chief executive Alan Davies said “The medium to long-term market fundamentals for diamonds remain robust, fuelled by growing demand for luxury goods in Asia and continuing strong demand in North America.
“We have valuable, high-quality diamonds businesses that are well positioned to capitalise on the positive market outlook.
“After considering a number of alternative strategic ownership options it is clear the best path to generate maximum value for our shareholders is to retain these businesses.”
Rio Tinto operates a fully integrated diamonds business from exploration through to sales and marketing.
It is one of the world’s major diamond producers through its 100 per cent ownership of the Argyle mine in Australia, 60 per cent of the Diavik mine in Canada and a 78 per cent interest in the Murowa mine in Zimbabwe. It also has an advanced diamond project, Bunder, in India.
Rio Tinto’s share of the production from its three operating diamond mines is sold through its sales and marketing headquarters in Antwerp, with representative offices in Mumbai, Hong Kong and New York.
It also operates a cutting and polishing factory in Perth for the pink diamonds from its Argyle mine.