Rio Tinto makes diamond foray in India
Could Indian diamonds be in Rio Tinto’s future?
The Australian mega-miner is not normally associated with the precious stones but according to Daily News and Analysis, the company has received approvals-in-principle from the Ministry of Mines to begin diamond mining operations in the state of Madhya Pradesh:
Rio Tinto’s maiden venture in India — in the form of a diamond mine — will come up in the Bunder region of the state where the company had established a diamond prospect way back in 2004.
Rio Tinto says on its website that the Bunder diamond project, situated about 500 kilometres southeast of Delhi, was discovered in 2004 as part of a reconnaissance exploration program. A prospecting licence was granted two years later, and mining lease applications were launched in 2008.
The deposit consists of eight lamprolite pipes, with one pipe in particular amenble to open-pit mining. The 17-hectare Atri lamprolite is said to contain an inferred resource of 27.4 million carats. The mine would support a 5-million tonne per annum operation.