Diamonds lose sparkle for Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto’s shipments of iron ore have surged, although the mining giant is dialling back production of some niche commodities such as diamonds and salt amid broadbased weakness in commodity markets.

Mining companies around the world have been put on the back foot by slumping prices for natural resources from gemstones to copper and coal thanks to ample global supplies and slowing economic growth. In some sectors, companies have pared output in the hope markets would rebalance, while in others miners have raced to cut costs with the aim of riding out the downturn.

Rio Tinto said today it has decided “to pause final product processing in the fourth quarter at Argyle in light of current market conditions.”

Rio Tinto’s Argyle operation in the remote East Kimberley region of Western Australia is one of the world’s largest diamond mines and the biggest supply of natural-coloured pink and red diamonds.

The miner now expects to produce 18 million carats of diamonds this year, from a prior estimate of 20 million.

It has also pared back output of salt, a commodity used heavily by the chemical industry and also sold to food manufacturers. Rio Tinto is one of the world’s biggest suppliers in that market too. “Salt production in the first nine months of 2015 was lower than the same period of 2014 as a result of weaker demand,” the company said, without elaborating...... To read the full article click here - Link