Monday, February 20, 2017

Rio Tinto gifts Bunder Project to Madhya Pradesh

Mining giant Rio Tinto (ASX, LON:RIO) is handing its shelved Bunder diamond deposit in India to the state government of Madhya Pradesh, where the mine is located. The company, which spent almost $120 million on the asset discovered in 2004, had planned to invest an extra $500 million to develop it. But Rio decided last year to mothball it due to regulatory hurdles, local opposition and weak diamond prices.
The Bunder deposit is located in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, 500km south east of Delhi. Rio Tinto discovered the deposit in 2004 as part of a regional exploration reconnaissance programme which began in 2002. The order of magnitude study in October 2008 indicated that the Bunder deposit was likely to yield 37.4 million tonnes of kimberlite containing about 27.4 million carats of diamonds.
The Bunder project was Rio Tinto's most advanced diamond mining project. The total investment to develop the mine was estimated at least 2,000 crore rupees (US$500 million).

It would have been the first new diamond mine in India in over 40 years.