That day has come. After 37 years of operation, Argyle, one of the most important pink diamond “resources”, has celebrated its final day of mining.
We had already talked about it, in an article
, since the mining giant, Rio Tinto, announced its closure by the end of 2020. «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. 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
», Arnaud Soirat, Rio Tinto’s chief executive of Copper & Diamonds
said on November 3, during an event at the mine, signalling the formal transition from an operational mine to the commencement of closure. Andrew Wilson, general manager of the Argyle mine added: «This is an historic day for the Argyle mine and the east Kimberley region and a great source of pride for this 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
.» The Argyle ore body, a single pipe known as AK1, was discovered in October 1979. Alluvial operations began in 1983, open pit mining began in 1985 and the mine became a fully underground operation in 2013. Over this period of time the mine has produced more than 865 million carats of rough diamonds, becoming the world’s largest producer of coloured diamonds and virtually the sole source of a very small but consistent source of rare pink diamonds.