PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Diversified miner Rio Tinto will "gift" the Bunder diamond project, in India, to the government of Madhya Pradesh.
Rio last year announced that it would not proceed with the development of the Bunder mine, owing to commercial considerations, and that it would close all project infrastructure.
The government of Madhya Pradesh signed an order in January, under which it will accept ownership and take responsibility for the Bunder assets.
Rio copper & diamonds CEO Arnaud Soirat said Rio’s exit from Bunder is the latest example of the company streamlining its asset portfolio, adding that it simplifies the business, allowing the company to focus on its world-class assets.
“We believe in the value and quality of the Bunder project and support its future development and the best way to achieve that is to hand over the assets to the government of Madhya Pradesh.”
Soirat noted that the assets being handed over to the government will include all land, plant, equipment and vehicles at the Bunder project site. The inventory will also include diamond samples recovered during exploration.
It is believed that this approach will assist the government to package the assets if it is to proceed with an auction process for the Bunder mineral rights.
“Rio Tinto has long and enduring ties with India and we continue to see the nation as an important market for our metals and minerals and as a key hub for Rio’s business services.”
Soirat said the company remains committed to its diamonds business and the Indian diamond industry through its world-class underground mines, the Argyle diamond mine, in Australia, and the Diavik diamond mine, in Canada.