Rothschild’s Rio Reap a $2mn Red Diamond While Aussie Miners Suffer Depression, Illness, and Exhaustion*

Rothschild’s Rio Reap a $2mn Red Diamond While Aussie Miners Suffer Depression, Illness, and Exhaustion*

By Cecilia Jamasmie

A suitably named hero diamond, the “Argyle Cardinal,” is the main piece of Rio Tinto’s annual tender of ­Argyle’s rare coloured diamonds being held in Sydney, Australia, between Tuesday and Friday.

The 1.21-carat radiant cut rock, expected to fetch over US$2 million, is one of the only 13 Fancy red diamonds included in the annual display in the last 30 years.  It was named after a small red northern American bird.

What makes the “Argyle Cardinal” even more special is the fact that there are only 30 known red diamonds in the world.

What makes the “Argyle Cardinal” even more special is the fact that there are only 30 known red diamonds in the world.

“These are all one-of-a-kind gems that will take their place in the history of great collectible diamonds,” Argyle Pink Diamonds manager Josephine Johnson said in a statement.

Last year a precious rock like this one set a record at auction at Christies’ in New York of $1.6 million per carat.

Increasingly rare

Diamonds are becoming an increasingly rare item as fewer mines remain in operation and new discoveries dwindle.

Polished diamond prices increased 4.5% in the first half of 2014, according to a study published Tuesday by EY, and further upside is expected for the second half of the year, driven mainly by rising demand, recent transactions and availability of financing.

Since the 1870’s, when the first kimberlite was found, another 6,800 kimberlites have been discovered worldwide. Of those, only about 1,000 contained diamonds, and of those only 60 actually contained diamonds on an economic level.

Rio Tinto controls the market for pink diamonds from the Argyle mine in Australia. Around 65% of the world’s diamond supplies come from the Cullinan mine in South Africa.

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The Rio Tinto Group

A British-Australian multinational metals and mining corporation with headquarters in London, United Kingdom, and a management office in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1873 as a mine complex on the Rio Tinto river, in Huelva, Spain, from the Spanish government by foreign financiers, including the Rothschilds.

The company exploits aluminium, iron ore, copper, uranium, coal, and diamonds natural resources as well as the refining of bauxite and iron ore. Following the Rothschild schematic, the company has operations on six continents.

In 1984, Rothschild financed Rio Tinto’s bid to take control of the Thatcher government’s oil “privatisation flagship”. By 1905, Rothschilds’ London and Paris houses held over 30% of Rio Tinto shares.

In 2008, Norway’s $375 billion Government Pension Fund-Global divested on ethical grounds (environmental practices).

Rio Tinto is now the 4th largest mining company in the world.

The recent deaths of nine West Australian fly-in fly-out (FIFO) workers who took their own lives has put the issue of living conditions and depression in the mining industry back in the spotlight.

According to The Australian, suicide is the single largest killer of people aged 15 to 44 years old, while the average age of a FIFO worker is 38.

Experts point to a male-dominated culture, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as a low emotional capacity to work through problems as key reasons why these workers are at risk.

Experts point to a male-dominated culture, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as a low emotional capacity to work through problems as key reasons why these workers are at risk.

Add to this the social dynamics of life in a mining camp, where hundreds of workers usually live side-by-side in identical quarters and work 12-hour shifts away from family and friends for weeks at a time, and you begin to understand how mental health problems can develop.

A study published in June by University of South Australia’s researcher Wes McTernan found that mining workers and their partners are more prone to depression.

In a survey of 150 people over a 12-month period, the academic also found workers, as well as their partners, were likely to be more prone to depression.

The initial findings of the research, by the University of South Australia, also found conflict between working and home lives was associated with sleep problems, headaches, and an increase in anxiety.

Study “flawed’

But the Chamber of Minerals and Energy was quick to say the findings were flawed.

“Current mental health problems associated with fly-in fly-out workers in Western Australia compared to other employment types were statistically significantly lower,” a spokesman said in an interview with ABC.

Mental Health Commissioner Tim Marney told a public hearing on Wednesday that the apparent increase in FIFO suicides over the past 12 months was tragically not surprising.

“You visit any mine site, the emphasis on physical health is extreme (…) “If they put that sort of effort into awareness and support for mental health we’d be far better off,” he was quoted as saying by The Australian.

He added a senior mental health clinician was already looking into the recent deaths of the FIFO workers.

Source*

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