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Chhattisgarh to be world's diamond bowl

Published by MAC on 2005-02-13

Chhattisgarh to be world's diamond bowl

Indo-Asian News Service

February 13 2005

Raipur - Chhattisgarh, one of India's youngest states, is set to become the worlds' diamond bowl before the decade is out and earn annual revenues of Rs.250 billion ($5.7 billion), Chief Minister Raman Singh says.

Singh said six companies, including De Beers, would start mining in the state by 2008.

"Let 2008 come, Chhattisgarh will dictate the diamond price in world markets and India will be the real diamond king," Singh told IANS in an interview.

"Six companies are carrying out aerial surveys and are closing in on areas with diamond-loaded kimberlite rock mines," Singh said.

"Chhattisgarh is known as the country's rice bowl. After three years it will become the diamond bowl. India will earn minimum Rs.250 billion revenue annually from diamond trading and it will grow by 40-50 percent a year," Singh added.

He said the Chhattisgarh Mineral Development Corp (CMDC) was establishing joint ventures with mining majors for scientific exploration, commercial exploitation and trading of diamonds.

"CMDC welcomes partnerships with national and international private sector mineral companies for translating the state's natural wealth more efficiently into prosperity for 38 percent of the population that lives below the poverty line," Singh stated.

Chhattisgarh, carved out of Madhya Pradesh in Nov 2000, is India's richest state in terms of mineral wealth with as many as 28 varieties of major minerals, including diamonds.

The world's best quality iron ore is found in the state's Bastar region and it has almost a fifth of the country's coal deposits.

Six companies are vying for a piece of the state's diamond pie with South Africa's De Beers and Diamond Prospecting Pvt. Ltd. carrying out surveys along the 3,975 sq km stretch in Kanker, Dhamtari, Durg and Rajnandgaon districts.

Rio Tinto has obtained an aerial survey license for parts of Jashpur, Mahasamund and Raipur districts. It says it has detected a kimberlite-rich belt in Raipur district.

Geo Mysore Services India has been prospecting in Kanker, Rajnandgaon and Jashpur regions, while Admas Prospecting Pvt. Ltd. has been eyeing the 3,000 sq km area in Raipur and Mahasamund districts.

The Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL), which has a major industrial complex in Raigarh district, has also submitted a proposal for a diamond survey in Jashpur.

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