The Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia is going to receive an injection of cash to the tune of $803 million from Rio Tinto for major upgrades.
The mining giant said that the completion of the underground project at Argyle was put on hold in 2009 but is now back on track.
Argyle is an open pit operation as of now and the underground extension will be operational by 2013. This is expected to boost the life of the mine until 2019. It will also help Rio Tinto to meet its production goal of 9 million tonnes annually within two years.
The Argyle mine is the largest diamond mine by volume and produces the bulk of the world's pink diamonds. It was started in 1985 and its production has reached above 760 million carats since then. The mine is located in the Kimberley region in the far northeast of the Australian state of Western Australia. It is located to the southwest of Lake Argyle in the Matsu Ranges, about 550 kilometres southwest of Darwin.
The mine is also notable for being the first successful commercial diamond mine exploiting a volcanic pipe of lamproite, rather than the more usual kimberlite pipe.
The Chief Executive of Rio Tinto Diamonds and Minerasl, Harry Kenyon-Slaney said that the planned investment of $803 million will underline the confidence of the company in the world's diamond market. The recovery of which and the long term industry fundamentals remain healthy.