Rio Tinto said Tuesday it has launched a review of its diamond operations and might sell its mines, including one in Canada, as it moves out of that business.

The company, which operates three diamond mines, including one 300 kilometres northeast of Yellowknife, unofficially encouraged bids in a news release.

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Rio Tinto said Tuesday it has launched a review of its diamond operations and might sell its mines, including N.W.T.'s Diavik, as it moves out of that business. (CBC)

"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," said chief executive Harry Kenyon-Slaney.

He added that diamonds are a high-quality business with growing demand.

However, Kenyon-Slaney said the company was reviewing whether diamonds fit with its strategy of operating large, long-life, expandable assets. Rio Tinto did not announce a deadline for a decision.

The announcement marks the second time in recent months a miner has said it is looking at selling its Canadian diamond operations.

Late last year, Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton said it was selling its stake in two Canadian diamond mines.

Rio Tinto also owns diamond mines in Australia and Zimbabwe.

 

with files from The Associated Press