Monday, March 21, 2011

Russian Diamond Market Appeals to Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is looking to partner with Russia's state-owned diamond producer, Alrosa, to increase its presence in Russia's diamond market, the trading website reports.

While Rio Tinto does not currently operate in Russia, the world's second-largest mining company after BHP Billiton is believed to be a finalist to cooperate with Alrosa on the development of the Arkhangelsk diamond deposit.

Rio Tinto has been mining diamonds for close to 40 years. The company's diamond operations include the Diavik mine in Canada, the most profitable mine in North America; Zimbabwe, and Australia – where it owns the renowned Argyle mine, the source of some 90% of all pink and red colored diamonds.

The company is also working on prefeasibility studies at the Bunder diamond project in India's Madhya Pradesh state, which is estimated to contain some 27.4 million carats of diamonds.

In 2010, Rio Tinto produced 13.8 million carats of rough diamonds, making it the third-largest producer in the world after Alrosa and De Beers.

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