Argyle Diamond Project: Environmental Protection Document, 1983.

Argyle Diamond Project: Environmental Protection Document, 1983.

I found this document by chance, a pdf file of the report and recommendations of the Environmental Protection Authority. Consisting of 25 sheets of old hand-typed ink and paper, all scanned into a single document. I loved its humble appearance considering in stark contrast its glamorous end product.

The document contains proposals on how the Argyle mine was to be set up and operated, with considerations to water supply, waste management, including the impact and improvements to infrastructure.

Beginning as an open pit mine, the document writes “Following the open cut mining phase there will be additional ore accessible to underground mining. The economics of underground mining are unknown at this stage.” The Argyle mine did continue as an underground mining operation, extracting the last of its famous coloured diamonds until is closure in November 2020.

For me, this is a wonderful document because it illustrates how the journey of the Argyle diamond began as a highly complex mining project, with many moving parts coming together. It is not often appreciated how a polished diamond takes many years of problems solving, planning and patience to arrive at its final destination (last stop – on the finger of your very own hand) of as an object of beauty and desire.

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Image: Front cover of the Argyle Diamond Project: Report and Recommendations by the Environmental Protection Authority.

The full document can be viewed here.

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