The Argyle mine was discovered in 1979 in Western Australia. The mine is famous for its production of pink and red diamonds. 90% of the world's production of pink and red diamonds originate from the Argyle mine. The Rio Tinto owned mine is unique in geological terms too. The diamonds are recovered from a lamproite pipe. Diamonds are almost exclusively discovered in kimberlite pipes. There are around 6,400 kimberlite pipes in the world. Less than 900 of them contain diamonds and only 30 have been economically viable to mine. Only the Argyle mine has been viable to mine from lamproite. Both kimberlite and lamproite are igneous rock. The softness of the rock makes it easy to erode and as a result diamonds can be transported from the primary source to seabeds and rivers. The deposits in Namibia are great examples of secondary sources. The diamonds travelled westward through the Orange River and got washed into the ocean. The softness of the mineral is also used when separating the diamonds from the host rock. Huge quantities of kimberlite and lamproite are crushed. The size of the crusher is calibrated to the production profile of the mine. The Letseng mine would have larger tolerance than the Venetia mine to ensure that exceptionally large diamonds would remain intact. The diamonds are then separated from the host rock through specific gravity and through grease tables and x-ray devices. This was written by Lisa Levinson. Lisa is a great friend of DR & is extremly knowledgable in the world of Diamonds having worked for De Beers & Forevermark for several years.
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