The Argyle Mine

In October 1979, a group of geologists in a rugged part of Western Australia sighted a glimmer in an anthill. The glimmer was from diamonds, and the anthill was in the heart of a region known as the East Kimberley, which sits on the land of the traditional owners of the Miriwung, Gidja, Malgnin and Wularr people in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. It was history in the making, and little did they know they were about to uncover a find of such significance that it would change the diamond industry forever.

History of the Argyle Miness a Source of Australian Pink Diamonds

The discovery provided the world with an unprecedented stream of coloured diamonds, including the unique violet-blue. Of all the natural coloured diamonds to come out of the Argyle mines, the stone that became the most highly prized and coveted was the supremely precious, rare pink diamond. Better still, the Australian pink diamonds from the Argyle mine would be of incomparable brilliance and beauty.

The Argyle diamond mine opened on the East Kimberley site in 1985 and it soon became one of the largest producers of coloured diamonds in the world. Supplying around 20% of the globe’s diamond supply, the Argyle mine became a source of gems worth well over a million carats. While known as a successful pink diamond mine, only a tiny percentage of the coloured diamonds were pink - less than 0.1% in fact. Despite this, the Argyle diamond mine in the East Kimberley was the only consistent source of natural pink diamonds and it was responsible for producing 90 per cent of the pink diamonds found worldwide.

The Australian diamond mine in Argyle was open-cut until 2013. With the number of diamonds produced diminishing each year, Rio Tinto invested in a strategic plan to extend the life of the mine by transitioning it to an underground operation. The remaining life of the Argyle mine was set to be exhausted by the end of 2020.

Innovation at the Argyle Pink Diamond Mine

Throughout the four decades of operating the Argyle pink diamond mine across Western Australia and the Northern Territory, Rio Tinto was continuously exploring ways of ensuring higher levels of safety, productivity, and efficiency. As the first successful diamond mine to use a lamproite pipe, rather than a kimberlite pipe containing diamonds, one aspect kept the Argyle mines functioning as the leaders in diamond production – their technology. Cutting-edge and purpose-designed machinery was needed to recover, sort, cut and polish the high volume of small, coloured diamond deposits. 

The technologically sophisticated underground operation resulted in the Australian diamond mine becoming the first block cave mine in Western Australia. Block cave mining involves undercutting the ore body and allowing it to ‘cave’ under its own weight, being one of the most economical ways to reach deep into the Argyle mine reserves.

Argyle Pink Diamonds & the Wider Diamond Market

Most of the diamonds found at the Argyle pink diamond mine were classified as type 1a and had low levels of impurities. This classification ensured the gems produced were of the highest quality on the wider diamond market, and as such, of great interest to diamond companies and investors.

Before the existence of the Argyle mine in Australia, pink diamonds with intense colour saturation had been found in diamond mines across Africa and Brazil. The super-saturated, vivid colour spectrum of the Argyle pink diamond, and the consistent diamond deposit supply, were unparalleled.

Following the closure of the Australian diamond mine, Argyle pink diamonds are beyond rare and are set to become an Australian ‘heritage’ diamond, desperately sought after by diamond companies, collectors, and investors around the world.

Closure of the Argyle Pink Diamond Mine

When the time came to close the East Kimberley mine, Rio Tinto was mindful of doing so in a reverent way to pay respect to the traditional owners of the land.

Initiating programs and employing strategies to rehabilitate the mine, the land that had seen 37 years of operation and more than 865 million carats of rough diamonds produced, is being returned to its traditional custodians.

Investment Portfolio Opportunities with Australian Pink Diamonds

Due to massive demand for a product that has a reduced supply, the worth and rarity of Argyle pink diamonds have increased significantly. The finest pink diamonds are reserved for the annual Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, an event considered the most exclusive diamond sale in the world.

If you are looking to add a lucrative investment to your portfolio or secure an heirloom for future generations that will only rise in value, consider speaking to the team at APDX about acquiring your own pink diamond.

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