Rio Tinto is entering a State Support Agreement with the government of the state of Madhya Pradesh in India for the Bunder diamond project.
The project has an estimated 27.4 million carats of diamonds available as per its Order of Magnitude study. Rio Tinto is planning the commencement of mining activities at Bunder by 2014.
The senior executives of Rio Tinto were in Khajuraho to support the Global Investors Summit and signed the agreement in the presence of the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Mr Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Mr Nik Senapati, Managing Director of Rio Tinto India said that it was a milestone in the journey to developing a world class diamond mine in Madhya Pradesh.
Regional exploration in Madhya Pradesh in 2004 had first revealed the presence of diamonds in the region. The mine at the Bunder site will cost about $500 million to develop, however once ready it would be amongst the top 10 diamond producing areas in the world.