The Argyle Mine Closure 2020

2020 has been a very strange and confronting year on many fronts but the end of 2020 will see the closure of the Argyle Diamond mine in the Kimberley, WA. Not many of us can afford them and sadly only a few were privileged to attend the last ever Argyle Pink Diamond Tender opens on September 3 2020.  Over shadowing this historic tender is the company’s destruction of 46,000-year-old rock shelters in Western Australia sacred to the Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people. The CEO and other Rio Tinto executives are stepping down because of this. Personally, I think criminal and civil charges should be laid and make these vandals responsible for this un-warranted destruction. 

And now back to the tender. Mr. Coppens the General Manager of Sales and Marketing for Rio Tinto’s diamonds says “The 2020 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender is a collection of rare earthly treasures, intricate works of art and with a potency of colour that will be keenly sought after by collectors and connoisseurs from around the world.”  Argyle has been tendering their diamonds since 2009.  This means that the highest bidder wins the rock!  So who are these people and how did they get to attend? Only a select few at Argyle Diamonds know who these few are and the invite to attend comes directly from Argyle.  And ‘No’ you cannot just rock up.  These tenders are held under a “dome” of secrecy, probably borrowed like the cone of silence, from The Chief on Get Smart.  Showing my age here!

Just so that it is clear about the preciousness and huge amounts of money that change hands over Argyle Coloured Diamonds, prices for Argyle Diamonds tripled from the year 2000 to the 2014 tender. Those few attending the 2014 tender were bidding over a million dollars per carat for the stones. 

And why the closure? Many reasons from the quality of the diamonds, estimates show that approximately only 5% of the diamonds mined are of gem quality and pink diamonds only make up 1% of diamonds produced by Argyle.  Along with increasing operational costs, a stagnant diamond market and the Argyle mines are now so deep underground that further excavation is not possible and cost prohibitive to continue mining.

So what deliciousness is up for tender in 2020? Rio Tinto has offered up for tender a selection of rare Argyle pink, red, violet and blue diamonds from the iconic Argyle mine.To start with, this historic tender is comprised of 62 diamonds weighing a total of 57.23 carats. Lot number 1 is of course the star of the show not the largest but the most impressive in colour.  The first six lots up for tender are named and trade marked, Lot 1 is the Argyle Eternity™, a 2.24 carats round brilliant, Fancy Vivid Purplish Pink diamond.  Another favourite of mine is Lot 4 the Argyle Emrys™, tiny in comparison to Eternity™ at 0.43 carats. This princess shaped Fancy Deep Grayish Violetish Blue diamond is a stunner.  The tender takes place in Perth, Singapore and Antwerp, and skipping New York this year because of Covid-19.


So what is going to happen at the 2020 tender considering this will be the last ever? Or perhaps it will be like another famous Aussie Johnny Farnham and his “Last Time Tour” in 2002. Even 17 years on Farnham is still performing his music, so when, oh when is the last time Mr Farnham?  Currently no-one knows as the tender closes on December 2nd2020. Stay tuned for an update.  If you wish to view some amazing rocks follow the link