British-Australian mining company Rio Tinto is planning India’s first diamond discovery in over 40 years.
According to Business Standard, Rio Tinto expects to produce three million carats of diamonds annually starting in 2019 from its Bunder deposit in Madhya Pradesh’s Bundelkhand region, 500 km south-east of Delhi.
However, this plan is yet to be made official. Rio Tinto still needs to get the appropriate environmental and forest clearances before they can start actually mining. That part of India is known to be near areas roamed by monkeys and tigers. Environmentalists point to a tiger habitat approximately 100 km from the mining area as a particular cause for concern.
If all goes to plan, mining would begin operation in 2017 with yields forecasted two years into the project. The company expects the mine to be operational for 25 years with almost 30 million carats of rough diamonds anticipated. The production cost for the company is expected to run at half a billion dollars.
It’s been a long road for Rio Tinto who first starting working on the project in 2002 as part of a regional exploration reconnaissance program. However, based on these projections, the Bundelkhand region would become one of the top-10 diamond-producing regions in the world.