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Argyle go ahead

Rio Tinto said on Thursday it has decided to invest US$760 million in the development of the underground project at its Argyle diamond mine in Australia, underlining the mining group’s commitment to diamonds.

An additional $150 million will be spent to enable continuity of production between the cessation of open pit mining in 2008 and the ramp up of the underground mine.

In a statement it said construction of the underground mine will to begin once government approvals have been finalised.

The average annual production over the life of the underground mine from 2007 to 2018 is expected be around 60% of Argyle's annual average of 34 million carats and of similar quality.

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