Rio Tinto just gave a diamond mine to an Indian state government as a gift

Dharmesh Moradiya, president of the Ahmedabad Diamond Workers’ Association, in India. Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images

Mining giant Rio Tinto has decided to gift the Bunder diamond project in India to the government of Madhya Pradesh.

The company last year announced it wasn’t going ahead with the development of Bunder.

The government of the central Indian state – nicknamed the “heart of India” – decided to accept ownership and take on responsibility for the Bunder assets, including all land, plant, equipment and vehicles at the Bunder project site.

The inventory will also include diamond samples recovered during exploration.

Arnaud Soirat, Rio Tinto’s copper and diamonds CEO, says the exit from Bunder is the latest example of the company streamlining its asset portfolio.

“It simplifies our business, allowing us to focus on our world-class assets,” he says.

“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.

“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.”

The company says it remains committed to its diamonds business and the Indian diamond industry through its underground mines, the Argyle diamond mine in Australia and the Diavik diamond mine in Canada.

Rio Tinto employs more than 250,000 diamond cutters and polishers in India.

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