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Rio Tinto Celebrates 30-Year Indo-Argyle Partnership

To celebrate its 30-year extraordinary Indo-Argyle partnership, Rio-Tinto hosted a celebratory dinner for customers and diamond industry partners in Mumbai recently.

The management of Rio Tinto recalled the extraordinary partnership that began in the 1980s when diamonds were retrieved from the Argyle diamond mine in Western Australia.

Alan Chirgwin, vice president of sales and marketing for Rio Tinto’s Copper & Diamonds business said “Rio Tinto’s 30-year diamond history in India contains many milestones. Our Mumbai office was opened in 1989 in recognition of the growing importance of India as a major trading partner and diamond cutting centre. Argyle undertook its initial cutting tests in India and together with our Indian partners, we have built innovative marketing programs. The Indo-Argyle relationship has thrived on mutual respect and understanding. It gave the owners of Argyle considerable assurance, in June 1996, that it could take the lonely path of being the first diamond producer to independently market all of its production.”

Of the many initiatives undertaken by Rio Tinto in partnership with the Indian diamond industry includes the launch of the Indo Argyle Diamond Council in 1993, which was primarily to create awareness and acceptance of Indian-made diamond jewellery in the US. This resulted in direct sales to US retailers, and the ground-breaking Business Excellence Model was instrumental in creating product assurance, quality management that improved the diamond and jewellery manufacturing industries and retail trade in India.

More recently, Rio Tinto’s Australian Diamonds initiative in India has delivered a tracking system for Argyle diamonds, developed in collaboration with downstream partners, for monitoring the movement of Rio Tinto’s rough Australian diamonds from their source at the Argyle mine through to finished jewellery.

Vikram Merchant, director of Rio Tinto’s diamond sales and marketing business in India said “Thirty years ago, very few people would have predicted that India would become the powerhouse of the diamond industry that it is today. Rio Tinto is proud of the role of the Argyle diamond mine in this development and equally proud of the Indian diamond industry’s role in unlocking the beauty and value of our diamonds.”


Mines to Market
Prashant Rathod


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