Do you love diamonds? Whether you’ve been a fan since day one, or a recent admirer of the sparkles, you might be saddened by the fact that one of the most popular diamond mines recently closed.
At first, the Argyle Mine was discovered by people who were searching for gold. However, they later found out that there were some diamonds in the area. In addition, they even found some diamond samples in the creeks surrounding Argyle Lake.
If you think it’s getting interesting, you should check the list below to get to know more about the ever-popular Argyle Mine!
1. It started in 1983 and closed down on 2020
After the discovery of sample diamonds near Argyle Lake in 1979, Rio Tinto opened the mine in 1983. From there, the mine almost immediately became popular.
As the first-ever diamond mine in Australia, Argyle Mine became popular worldwide. Initially, the average carat grade per ton was 3.7. However, as years passed, the carat grade average per ton increased.
In 1994, the peak year of diamond production, Argyle Mine hit 40% diamond supply all over the world. The excellent production rate continues, but in 1998, some parts of the mine had to close due to being unstable.
As they continue to mine diamonds, the reserves decreased which led to its closure on November 2020. After 37 years of providing high-quality clear, brown, and pink diamonds, people would just have to look for the last diamonds produced in the Argyle Mine.
2. It’s located in Western Australia
The Argyle Mine was located in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia. This location is known for having unique diamond pieces that the rest of the world can’t offer.
In addition, it’s an ideal location for diamonds due to various reasons:
- Formation Process. The diamonds found in Argyle Mine are primarily sourced from lamproite pipes. These are volcanic pipes that bring diamonds from deep down the Earth’s mantle to the surface. Moreover, the pipes are produced due to volcanic activities, providing an ideal pathway for diamond-bearing material to reach the surface.
- Unique Geology. The location had undergone complex geological processes over millions of years. The diamond-bearing structures are formed from these geological processes, making the area highly prospective for diamond exploration.
- Mining Techniques. Argyle Mine used specialised extraction methods, which were highly efficient and effective. Furthermore, they incorporate advanced technology, including underground block caving and open-pit mining, to recover diamonds from various depths and geological structures.
- Environmental Factors. Since the location is far from where people live, the mining created a low impact on the local communities. Moreover, this is one of the primary reasons why the Argyle Mine lasted for decades.
3. It’s known for various diamonds
As you know, Argyle pink diamonds gain popularity worldwide, as Argyle Mine produced around 90% of the world’s pink diamonds. But aside from the number of Argyle pink diamonds produced, people also sought the quality it brought to many pink diamond fans.
In addition, although the pink diamond may be considered the start of the show, it’s undeniable that other high-quality diamond colours are also produced in the Argyle Mine. As you know, the 4Cs are the usual basis of high-quality diamonds, and the ones produced in the Argyle Mine are always exceptional.
In terms of marketing, they also created something people appreciated. Before, brown diamonds are hard to sell due to their overall value. However, instead of brown, they introduced it to the market as champagne and cognac. And since then, sales of brown diamonds increased.
4. What’s in the mine?
The Argyle Mine is around 50 hectares, which can reach about 600 metres deep when it was still an open-cut mine. However, the open-cut was closed in 2010, and they started to operate fully underground.
Furthermore, the mine was 115 lies apart from the closets community, Kunnurra. There are houses built near the site where workers can live. According to the owners, as much as possible, they try to hire the locals to give them job opportunities.
5. The annual Argyle Diamond Tender
Apart from the mine, Rio Tinto also came up with the annual Argyle Diamond Tender. Each year, the finest of the finest pink diamonds are auctioned to special guests. This invitation-only tender is one of the most-awaited events of pink diamond lovers every year.
But as the other fancy-coloured diamonds emerge in the scene, Rio Tinto also made a way to celebrate them. One colour that stood up is blue. That’s why, in 2009, the “Once in a Blue Moon” collection was announced. It consisted of the rare blue diamonds produced in the Argyle Mine.
But going back to the Argyle pink diamonds, the Argyle Diamond Tender made its highest sale in 2016. However, due to the mine’s closure, the tender also bid farewell last 2021.
We hope this article helps you reminisce and get to know the Argyle Mine more. Although, unfortunately, there will be no more new Argyle diamonds, you can still look for those that are out in the market.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aliana Baraquio is currently writing for Musson Jewellers Australia, a rare and enduring jewellery design business that has been providing the finest jewellery for over 40 years in Sydney. Her free time is composed of her phone and new comics to read.