Rio Tinto celebrates its 30 year Indo-Argyle partnership

IMG-20190628-WA0160IMG-20190628-WA0178IMG-20190628-WA0159IMG-20190628-WA0188IMG-20190628-WA0112Rio Tinto’s diamonds business is celebrating 30 years in India with a tribute in Mumbai to the extraordinary
Indo-Argyle partnership.
At a celebratory dinner for customers and diamond industry partners, Rio Tinto’s management reflected on the
ground breaking partnership that began with the first influx of diamonds from the Argyle diamond mine in
Western Australia in the 1980s.
Mr 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.”
Rio Tinto initiatives undertaken in partnership with the Indian diamond industry include the launch of the Indo
Argyle Diamond Council in 1993 to create awareness and acceptance of Indian-made diamond jewellery in the
US. This paved the way for direct sales to US retailers and the ground-breaking Business Excellence Model,
which drove safety, product assurance, quality management and continuous improvement in the diamond and
jewellery manufacturing industries and retail trade in India. More recently, Rio Tinto’s Australian Diamonds
initiative in India has delivered a leading-edge 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.”