Rio Tinto employees, traditional owners and other stakeholders attended a small event at the mine on Tuesday afternoon to formally cease operations.
Where is the Argyle diamond mine?
Located about 3000 kilometres north of Perth, Argyle became famous for its consistent stream of rare and striking pink diamonds and with its closure 90 per cent of the world’s coloured diamond supply will cease.
Rio Tinto copper and diamonds chief executive Arnaud Soirat said Argyle’s influence stretched across the world.
“Fifty years ago there were very few people who believed there were diamonds in Australia – even fewer could have foreseen how the Argyle story would unfold,” he said.
“To arrive at this final chapter has required vision, courage and determination to overcome significant challenges to enter new territory in diamond exploration, mining and marketing.”
The Argyle orebody was discovered in 1979 and since operations began in 1983 it has produced 865 million carats of rough diamonds. Open-cut mining began in 1985 and the underground operation started in 2013.
Argyle general manager Andrew Wilson said the mine was a unique Australian success story.
“A new chapter will now begin as we start the process of respectfully closing the Argyle mine and rehabilitating the land, to be handed back to its traditional custodians,” he said.
Many of our Diamond Guild members have access to those beautiful, and now even more sought after, pink diamonds.