The Bunder diamond project
The Bunder project is Rio Tinto's most advanced diamond project worldwide and the most important diamond discovery in India for many decades. The Bunder project is located in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh, India.
The Bunder deposit is the first diamond discovery in India for over 40 years and one of only four new diamond mines likely to become functional globally in the next ten years.
At Bunder, Rio Tinto has identified a diamond resource seven times richer than the Panna diamond mine, the only operating diamond mine in India, with a likely production rate at least 20 times greater than Panna. Madhya Pradesh would therefore rank, in volume and value terms, in the top 10 diamond producing regions in the world.
The original discovery was made as part of a regional exploration reconnaissance in 2004. A Prospecting License was executed in September 2006, and in early 2012, the State Government of Madhya Pradesh issued the "Letter of Intent", allowing Rio Tinto to commence the Mine Plan and other approvals that will pave the way for the development to commence.
The extensive work Rio Tinto is undertaking in the communities surrounding its developing Bunder diamond project has attracted the 2010-2011 Sitaram Rungta Social Awareness Award, conferred by the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI).
The Bunder project has a dedicated team that consults with local communities to determine their needs and priorities. It has also developed partnerships with both local and international capacity building organisations, such as UNICEF, to provide the insight and expertise needed to deliver programs on the ground. Areas being targeted included health and education services, training and employment, sustainable agricultural practices and water resource management.