Rio Tinto offers Bunder Diamond project to Indian state government

Rio Tinto offers Bunder Diamond project to Indian state government

Following a comprehensive review, Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) will complete the transaction of its Bunder diamond project in India to the government of Madhya Pradesh.

Government officials of Madhya Pradesh, the second largest state in India by area, will resume control of the mine which was first discovered in 2004.

This move by the mining giant is another instance of the continued reorganisation of its assets in light of current conditions within the industry.

“Our exit from Bunder is the latest example of Rio Tinto streamlining its asset portfolio. It simplifies our business, allowing us to focus on our world-class assets,” said Arnaud Soirat, Rio Tinto’s copper and diamonds chief executive.

The company announced it would close its operations at the mine in August 2016, but now the government of Madhya Pradesh has accepted ownership after signing an order last month.

All assets and associated infrastructure including land, plant, equipment and vehicles at the Bunder project site, along with recovered diamond samples will be handed over to the state government.

More than 250,000 Indian diamond cutters and polishers are still currently employed by Rio Tinto, who remain involved in the Indian diamond industry.

@RGNonline