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5 of Australia’s Rarest and Most Valuable Diamonds

Australia ranks fourth in diamond production with annual output of roughly 14.2 million carats. Learn about five of the country’s most unique gems.

There are three famed diamond mines in Australia: Argyle, Ellendale and Merlin.

Combined, the mines have supplied millions of carats worth of gems to the global market, and individually they have produced some of the rarest, most exquisite stones ever recovered.

In previous years, Australia has ranked fourth in global diamond production with annual output of roughly 14.2 million carats. However, the country is unlikely to take a top spot in 2021.


That’s because 2020 was a transitional year for the nation’s diamond sector with the permanent closure of Argyle, its only operational diamond mine. As one of Australia’s most prolific mines, Argyle produced 865 million carats over 37 years, including 90 percent of the world’s rare pink diamonds.

The mine is now in rehabilitation after almost four decades of output, and its closure has left the national diamond sector in a state of flux. Home to some of the most distinctive kimberlite pipes in the world, there is ongoing exploration, as well as talk of restarting Merlin and Ellendale.

“I believe Australia is still quite speculative for diamond exploration,” said diamond analyst Paul Zimnisky. “There have been exploration efforts in recent years that have been somewhat disappointing, but I think the upside offered is still quite intriguing.”

Regardless of what’s ahead for the sector, Australia’s miners have a long history of finding unique and rare gems. Here’s a list of five of the most exquisite diamonds ever unearthed in the country.

1. 104.73 carat rough white diamond

Recovered in 2001 from the Merlin mine in the Northern Territory, Australia’s largest diamond discovery weighed in at a whopping 104.73 carats and was valued at US$500,000.

Despite the major diamond find, Merlin was never able to reach its full output potential and was sold to a number of companies, including Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,LSE:RIO,NYSE:RIO) and the now-defunct Ashton Mining and Merlin Diamonds (formerly North Australian Diamonds).

104 carat white diamond

Image courtesy of the Australian Museum.

The most recent owner, Merlin Diamonds, was delisted from the ASX in 2018. Deloitte was appointed as liquidator in 2019 after an investigation by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC).

“In October, ASIC kicked off a probe into an AU$13 million-loan from the mining group to a private company associated to the diamond producer’s owner,” reads a report from Deloitte. “The owner of Merlin Diamonds, mining magnate Joseph Gutnick, had in recent years completed a number of such loans and has proven unwilling or incapable of repaying the loans.”

In late 2020, Africa-focused diamond miner Lucapa Diamond (ASX:LOM) expressed interest in acquiring the Merlin asset, adding the short-lived mine to its portfolio.

“Merlin is a multi-pit mine development opportunity with underground mining potential and is home to Australia’s largest recovered diamond of 104 carats,” notes a December company statement. “Lucapa is of the view that the tenements also have considerable exploration potential with a significant number of unresolved exploration targets.”

2. 35.26 carat rough brown diamond

Another memorable discovery from Merlin is a 35.26 rough brown/champagne diamond recovered in 2017. The stone is considered the fifth largest diamond ever found on the continent.

According to Geoscience Australia, the Merlin orebody produced more carats on average than Argyle even though Argyle is viewed as the country’s most notable diamond mine.

“A number of small diamond ‘pipes’ with a much higher proportion of gem-quality diamond than Argyle have been mined at Merlin in the Northern Territory and Ellendale in the west Kimberley region, both of which are currently not in operation,” states the government agency.

Known for its large, super-white, high-quality diamonds, a number of remarkable coloured stones have been unearthed at Merlin as well.

In addition to the 35 carat brown/champagne stone, a 14 carat champagne-hued stone was recovered, as well as a particularly uncommon blue diamond.

“Although only a small diamond at 0.124 carats (the blue diamond) does demonstrate the potential for valuable coloured diamonds at Merlin,” Merlin Diamonds said in a 2017 statement to the ASX. “Blue diamonds are one of the rarest diamond colours and high quality blue diamonds are known to command prices higher than pink diamonds.”

3. 28.84 carat white diamond

Despite being renowned for its pink and red diamonds, the Argyle mine has also produced some impressive white diamonds. One of them, a 28.84 carat white diamond, was recovered in 2019.

Dubbed the Argyle Octavia for its unique octahedral shape, the diamond is the largest white stone ever found at the Western Australian mine.

Arglye Octavia

Image courtesy of Rio Tinto.

“We are delighted with this discovery which is a testament to the extraordinary Argyle orebody that continues to deliver these miracles of nature, even as it nears the end of mine life,” Arnaud Soirat, chief executive of Rio Tinto’s copper and diamonds portfolio, said at the time.

4. 12.8 carat light pink diamond

The largest pink diamond ever found in Australia is Rio Tinto’s Argyle Pink Jubilee. The 12.7 carat stone was recovered in 2012 and later cut and polished into a smaller 8.01 carat gem. The stone was then donated to Museums Victoria and put on display at the Melbourne Museum.

Argyle’s fame comes courtesy of the desirable pink diamonds it has produced. However, these extremely rare stones comprised less than 1 percent of its annual output (8 million carats on average).

Argyle pink Jubilee

Image courtesy of Museums Victoria.

Of the Argyle discoveries, diamond analyst Zimnisky’s most memorable is a red gem recovered in 2014.

“The 2.09 carat red that was cut into a heart shape and sold in 2014 comes to mind,” he said. “It’s such a unique diamond. It was sold to Moussaieff for 3.4 million pounds.”

5. 8.43 fancy yellow diamond

One of the country’s largest fancy yellow stones was recovered in 2017 by Gibb River Diamonds (ASX:GIB), which was examining the Blina project in the Ellendale diamond province.

The Ellendale mine’s unique composition has produced many rare stones, including three extraordinary green diamonds in 2007. The area was also once responsible for more than 50 percent of the world’s high-quality fancy yellow diamonds. The former owner, Kimberly Diamond Company, penned an exclusive offtake deal with Tiffany & Co (NYSE:TIF).

In 2015, the Ellendale mine was closed after producing roughly 1.3 million carats between 2002 and 2015. But exploration of the area has continued — a few years later, ahead of Argyle’s closure, the Australian government announced plans to give the once-abandoned Ellendale “a new lease on life.”

“It’s not going to happen overnight, but restarting mining operations at the former Ellendale mine will be a high point in the rejuvenation of diamond exploration and mining in the Kimberley,” said Bill Johnston, mines and petroleum minister. He also said that AU$230,000 would be spent to rehabilitate the site.

The plan paid off. In 2020, private explorer India Bore Diamond Holdings (IBDH) unearthed several small yellow diamonds with a special characteristic, fluorescence.

When exposed to ultraviolet light, the gems fluoresce purple. Glow-in-the-dark gems were once considered less desirable than other diamond classes due to their cloudiness and milkiness, but there has been a small shift in younger demographics who appreciate this unique quality.

Argyle’s 2019 pink diamond tender. Image courtesy of Rio Tinto.

“Violet or purple fluorescence is normally associated with blue diamonds, so the fluorescence of these IBDH diamonds is quite unusual,” said John Chapman of Delta Diamond Laboratory.

IBDH controls exploration leases for parts of Blina, while Gibb River held leases for the Ellendale mine site. The latter sold its Ellendale position to Burgundy Diamond Mines (ASX:BDM) in late March 2021. The deal will see Burgundy acquire ownership over the Ellendale mine and Blina project.

IBDH continues to hold mining leases for its L-channel deposit in the Ellendale diamond field, as well as exploration tenements.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Georgia Williams, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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There are many big Australian gold stocks, but these are the five top companies in the sector by market cap.

Australia is the fourth largest producer of gold worldwide, and this past year has brought ups and downs for the commodity. The precious metal hit its 2021 high point early on and fell soon after.

Lately, gold has been resting at a strong price of around US$1,800 per ounce, and it seems like it will exit the year that way. It may even be in for a serious price hike if inflationary pressures continue on their current trajectory.

Read on to learn more about Australia’s five top gold companies by market cap. All market cap and share price information was obtained on November 25, 2021, using TradingView's stock screener.


1. Newcrest Mining

Market cap: AU$19.54 billion; current share price: AU$24.14

Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM) operates a portfolio of gold mines across Australia, Canada and Papua New Guinea. These include its New South Wales-based Cadia mine and its Western Australia-based Telfer and Havieron mines.

In November 2021, Newcrest agreed to purchase British Columbia-based Pretium Resources (TSX:PVG,NYSE:PVG) for C$3.5 billion, marking the company’s expansion into Western Canada.

2. Kirkland Lake Gold

Market cap: AU$14.57 billion; current share price: AU$54.99

Kirkland Lake Gold (ASX:KLA) has mining operations in Australia and Canada, both of which are low-risk, gold-rich countries. The company’s Fosterville mine is based in Victoria, Australia, and as of December 31, 2018, its mineral reserves stood at 2.7 million ounces. It produced 640,467 ounces in 2020.

In September 2021, Kirkland Lake Gold and Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX:AEM,NYSE:AEM), a Canadian gold miner, announced a “merger of equals." The new company will go by the name Agnico Eagle Mines, and the companies expect the transaction to close in late 2021 or early 2022.

3. AngloGold Ashanti

Market cap: AU$12.43 billion; current share price: AU$5.83

AngloGold Ashanti (ASX:AGG) is a global gold miner formed in 2004. It has two Australia-based operations, both of which are based in Western Australia’s northeastern goldfields: Sunrise Dam and Tropicana. Sunrise Dam is 100 percent owned, while Tropicana is 70 percent owned, with the remaining 30 percent owned by Regis Resources (ASX:RRL,OTC Pink:RGRNF). In 2020, these operations produced 554,000 ounces of gold.

In Q3 2021, AngloGold Ashanti reported total gold production of 613,000 ounces at a total cash cost of US$927 per ounce. This represents a 5 percent quarter-over-quarter increase in production, though a year-to-date decrease.

4. Northern Star Resources

Market cap: AU$11.39 billion; current share price: AU$9.66

Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST) is an Australian gold-mining company with projects throughout Western Australia and North America at its Kalgoorlie, Yandal and Pogo production centres. In the 2021 fiscal year, Northern Star experienced a 40 percent revenue increase and a 10 percent cash earnings hike.

In late November 2021, Northern Star announced an agreement to buy Newmont Australia’s power business for US$95 million. The company paid US$25 million for the option to purchase this business, an opportunity it was given through its recent 50 percent acquisition of Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines.

5. Evolution Mining

Market cap: AU$7.53 billion; current share price: AU$4.12

Australian gold miner Evolution Mining (ASX:EVN) has projects throughout New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia, as well as in Ontario, Canada. Evolution Mining produced 680,788 ounces of gold in the 2021 fiscal year at an all-in sustaining cost of AU$1,215 per ounce.

In 2019, Evolution Mining became one of only two Australian gold companies to be included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (INDEXDJX:W1SGI). In 2020 and 2021, the company made several strategic acquisitions and divestments, including its high-value purchases of the Red Lake and the Kundana operations.

This is an updated version of an article originally published by the Investing News Network in 2018.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Isabel Armiento, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

What are the largest Australian copper companies? These five ASX copper stocks are the biggest on the exchange by market cap.

Last year, pandemic restrictions forced copper mines to shut down across the world, driving down global production and causing the 10 largest copper-mining companies to suffer dramatic losses.

But in 2021, copper hit an all-time high of US$10,700 per tonne, and stayed over US$9,000 for much of the year.

The three top copper-producing countries globally are Chile, Peru and China, with Australia coming in at number six. Still, there are plenty of untapped resources in the land down under, and Australia is making a name for itself as an up-and-coming producer of this important base metal.


Read on to learn more about the top five Australian copper companies on the ASX, ranked by market cap. All market cap and share price information was obtained on November 26, 2021, from TradingView.

1. BHP

Market cap: AU$192.56 billion; current share price: AU$38.03

BHP (ASX:BHP) is a top global producer of copper, nickel, potash, iron ore and metallurgical coal, with copper production centralised at its South Australia-based Olympic Dam mine.

The company, whose headquarters are in Melbourne, Australia, emphasises copper’s function in renewable energy systems and the metal’s critical role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Recently, BHP has focused its attention on its energy assets. In late November, the company merged its oil and gas portfolio with Woodside Petroleum, a deal that was originally struck in August of the same year. On the mineral side of its operations, BHP was looking to acquire Noront Resources (TSXV:NOT,OTC Pink:NOSOF), a Canada-based nickel, copper, chrome and platinum company, but decided not to match a superior offer.

2. OZ Minerals 

Market cap: AU$8.77 billion; current share price: AU$25.70

OZ Minerals (ASX:OZL) is a South Australia-based copper-mining company founded in 2008. Its operations include the Carrapateena project, where construction was completed in 2019, and the upcoming Malu underground mine, which was commissioned in 2015.

In a November press release, OZ Minerals reported a year-to-date 5 percent increase in group ore reserve copper metal tonnes. In its third quarter results, the company reported guidance of between 120,000 and 145,000 tonnes of copper for the year.

3. Sandfire Resources

Market cap: AU$2.59 billion; current share price: AU$6.11

Sandfire Resources (ASX:SFR) owns 7,189 square kilometres in the Bryah Basin region of Western Australia, including its DeGrussa and Monty operations. Both of these are 100 percent owned and produce copper and gold.

The company released its third quarter results in October, reporting total copper production of 15,946 tonnes. Sandfire expects output of between 64,000 and 68,000 tonnes of copper in 2022.

4. 29Metals

Market cap: AU$1.29 billion; current share price: AU$2.63

Australia-based mining company 29Metals (ASX:29M) has the Golden Grove mine in Western Australia and the Capricorn copper mine in Queensland, along with several promising new growth opportunities lined up. 29Metals focuses on copper production, though it also mines for zinc, gold and silver.

According to an October release from the company, production was weaker than expected at Golden Grove during the September quarter. However, the asset's quarter-on-quarter decline of about 10 percent was largely offset by a strong performance at Capricorn.

5. Copper Mountain Mining

Market cap: AU$804.96 million; current share price: AU$3.81

Copper Mountain Mining (ASX:C6C) is a Canadian and Australian copper miner, with its flagship Copper Mountain operation in British Columbia, Canada, and its Eva and Cameron copper projects in Queensland, Australia.

In the third quarter, Copper Mountain Mining reported total output of 22.4 million pounds of copper at its Copper Mountain mine, representing a 12.1 percent quarter-over-quarter decline in production. The company still reported positive cash flow, with strong construction and exploration gains made at its Eva and Cameron projects.

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2018.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Isabel Armiento, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.