Rio Tinto diamond mining set for revival

THE ASIAN AGE. | RABINDRA NATH CHOUDHURY | Published : Feb 2, 2019, 1:49 am IST

Bhopal: In a significant development, Madhya Pradesh government has initiated a move to revive the Bunder Diamond project, which was shelved after the British mining behemoth Rio Tinto withdrew from it three years ago.

The state government has proposed the Centre to grant fresh mining lease for Bakshawaha diamond block in Chhatarpur district under backward region of Bundelkhand in MP to facilitate revival of the abandoned Bunder Diamond project.

“A three-member official team constituted by the state government has recommended for granting of mining lease for Bakshawaha diamond block to revive the abandoned Bunder diamond mining project.

Accordingly, the state government has moved the Centre seeking to grant mining lease for the diamond block”, a senior officer of state mining department disclosed to this newspaper here on Friday requesting not to be quoted.

The committee has also recommended reviewing conditions set by the previous BJP government in the state for undertaking the project, leading Rio Tinto Exploration of India Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of Rio Tinto Plc., U.K, to withdraw from it, he added.

The previous Shivraj Singh Chouhan government has made it mandatory for Rio Tinto, which was granted prospective license to evaluate diamond prospect in Bakshawaha in 2006, to set up beneficiation, diamond cutting and polishing plants in MP under the project. Besides, the previous state government had sought Rio Tinto to market its products in MP.

However, Rio Tinto had found the conditions tough, particularly the clause seeking the multinational company to market its products in MP, sources said.