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Rio Tinto signs State Support Agreement for Bunder diamond project
Estimates investment to be around US$500 million
By: Diamond World News Service
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Oct 26 2010 10:03AM
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Reference: 5445  

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Rio Tinto recently signed a State Support Agreement with the Government of Madhya Pradesh, in the presence of the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan. Also present at the signing was Managing Director of Rio Tinto Diamonds, Mr. Bruce Cox. The agreement will help to take ahead the Bunder Project, Rio's most advanced diamond project in India.

In a company release, Mr Nik Senapati, Managing Director of Rio Tinto India said, “Madhya Pradesh has significant mineral potential and this State Support Agreement is a key milestone in our journey to unlock this potential by developing a world class diamond mine. The agreement is also an endorsement of the mutual commitment we have with the government of Madhya Pradesh.This commitment includes working together in a respectful and transparent manner, listening to the community, providing support for the State’s potential diamond industry, supporting local industries and focussing on opportunities for local employment, education and training.”

Rio Tinto's initial discovery of diamonds in Madhya Pradesh was made as part of a regional exploration reconnaissance in 2004. Located 500 km south east of Delhi, the Bunder Project's Order of Magnitude study identified an inferred resource of 27.4 million carats. Rio Tinto subsequently applied for a mining lease, constructed a sample processing plant to further evaluate drilling results and has continued its detailed studies to determine the blue-print for the mine’s development.

The mining giant estimates the total investment to develop a diamond mine at Bunder to be approximately US$500 million. When the Bunder diamond mine commences production, Madhya Pradesh will most likely rank in volume and value, in the top 10 diamond producing regions in the world. Mr. Bruce Cox, said, “Rio Tinto has a long history of strategic partnerships with the Indian diamond industry. The current business environment and our partnership with the government has positioned us well to develop a diamond mine that the people of Madhya Pradesh will be proud of.”

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