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Looming last tender for rare pink and red diamonds doubles bids

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(Kitco News) - As Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) teases out the end of production at its Argyle Mine, the miner said Wednesday its latest tender saw double-digit growth in the number of bids, with successful bidders coming from nine countries.

The latest tender consisted of 64 pink and red diamonds. Rio Tinto said total dollar value of what was sold is confidential.

"Almost the entire world supply of rare pink, red and violet diamonds come from Rio Tinto’s Argyle diamond mine which will close at the end of 2020," said Rio Tinto in a statement. "Over the past 19 years the value of Argyle pink diamonds sold at Tender has appreciated more than 500 per cent, outperforming all major equity markets.

In the latest tender, Rio Tinto highlighted a few sales. Lot number 1, Argyle Enigma™, the most valuable diamond in the collection, was won by Australian based Argyle Pink Diamonds partner Blue Star & Kiven Diamonds. Blue Star & Kiven Diamonds also won Lot number 4, Argyle Verity™.

The diamond market as a whole has been under pressure this year due to falling demand in both the industrial and luxury ends of the market. In July, Reuters reported that De Beers is scaling back production after trade tensions between the United States and China contributed to a 27% first-half fall in diamond earnings. In September Osisko Gold Royalties bought Stornoway Diamonds, which was under creditor protection.

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