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Rio Tinto signed a support agreement with the government of Madhya Pradesh to further advance its Bunder diamond project in India. Senior executives from Rio Tinto signed the agreement together with the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shri Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Rio Tinto initially discovered diamonds in Madhya Pradesh as part of a regional exploration reconnaissance in 2004. Located 500 kilometers south east of Delhi, the Bunder Project has an inferred resource of 27.4 million carats. Rio Tinto has since applied for a mining lease, constructed a sample processing plant to further evaluate drilling results and continued detailed studies to help determine the blue-print for the mine’s development.
"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," said Nik Senapati, managing director of Rio Tinto India.
Senapati noted that the agreement affirms Rio Tinto's mutual commitment with Madyha Pradesh's government to work together to provide support for the state's potential diamond mining industry.
“Rio Tinto has a long history of strategic partnerships with the Indian diamond industry," said Bruce Cox, managing director of Rio Tinto Diamonds. "The current business environment and our partnership with the government has positioned u
s well to develop a diamond mine that the people of Madhya Pradesh will be proud of."
The development of diamond mine at Bunder is estimated to cost Rio Tinto $500 million. Madhya Pradesh will most likely rank in volume and value, in the top 10 diamond producing regions in the world when the Bunder diamond mine commences production.