Argyle Production Predicted To Fall

March 16, 1999

Argyle Production Predicted To Fall

Production at the Argyle diamond mine in Australia is expected to fall almost 20% to 33 million carats this year, according to the minority owner.

The decline will be due mostly to temporary construction work involved in expanding the AK1 open-pit mine, says Douglas Bailey, chief executive of Ashton Mining Ltd., which owns 38% of Argyle. (The majority owner is RTZ, also known as Rio Tinto Ltd.).

Ashton Mining Ltd. reported a net profit of $11.6 million in 1998 compared to a loss of $62.02 million in 1997, mainly because of asset write-downs. The owners have marketed Argyle diamonds on their own since breaking from the De Beers network in 1996.

- by Robert Weldon, G.G.