Rio Tinto said it will gift an Indian diamond project to the government of Madhya Pradesh after stopping production there last year in order to cut costs.
Under a government order signed last month, the Indian government said it will accept ownership of the Bunder mine and take on responsibility for the assets – meaning all land, plant, equipment and vehicles at the project site.
The inventory will also include diamond samples recovered during exploration. This will help package the assets if it were to proceed with an auction process for the Bunder mineral rights, Rio said.
Rio Tinto copper and diamonds chief executive Arnaud Soirat said this was Rio's latest effort to streamline its asset portfolio. "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," he said.