Toronto-based Harry Winston, known as the “King of Diamonds,” has expressed interest in diamond mining assets in northern Canada, according to a report
Last month, Rio Tinto said it is evaluating its diamond operations and might sell mines, including the Diavik diamond mine in Canada's Northwest Territories where it has 60 percent ownership interest. Harry Winston owns the remaining 40 percent.
"Obviously, we're interested in any assets like that that are relevant to our sphere of expertise, which has certainly become northern Canadian focused," Harry Winston Chief Executive Robert Gannicott was quoted as saying by Reuters.
In a recent conference call with investors, Harry Winston confirmed it has the right of first refusal for Rio Tinto's 60 percent interest in their joint Diavik diamond mine. The Toronto-based company, however, did not issue further comments on Rio Tinto's "strategic review" of its diamond operations.
Harry Kenyon-Slaney, chief executive Diamonds & Minerals, said in a company statement: "We regularly review our businesses to ensure they remain aligned with Rio Tinto's strategy of operating large, long-life, expandable assets.
"The diamonds market outlook is very positive, with demand growing strongly and lack of new discoveries limiting supply. We have a valuable, high-quality diamonds business, but given its scale we are reviewing whether we can create more value through a different ownership structure.
"This process may take some time. We're committed to keeping stakeholders informed about any key developments, and in the meantime are reassuring employees and the governments in the states and countries where we operate that it is very much business as usual."
Rio Tinto operates three diamond mines: Argyle in Australia (100 percent interest), Diavik in Canada (60 percent interest), and Murowa in Zimbabwe (78 percent interest), as well as Bunder, an advanced diamonds project in India (100 percent interest).