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Rio Tinto Plans to Invest Billions into Iron Ore and Diamond Projects in India

Mining juggernaut Rio Tinto is continuing its quest to be the leading producer of iron ore. The UK based company announced plans to invest $2.5 billion ...

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|Jan 13|magazine6 min read

Mining juggernaut Rio Tinto is continuing its quest to be the leading producer of iron ore. The UK based company announced plans to invest $2.5 billion in two separate mining projects in India, reportedly agreeing to invest $2 billion to set up an iron ore project in Odisha and another $500 million in the Bunder diamond mine project in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

“We have the potential for two projects. An iron ore project in Odisha with a $2 billion investment potential and a half a billion dollar investment in Madhya Pradesh in diamonds,” Sam Walsh, CEO of Rio Tinto told reporters at a conference.

“The diamond project is very important downstream because it will provide 30,000 jobs in diamond cutting,” he added. 

Discovered in 2004, the Bunder project is Rio Tinto’s most advanced diamond mining project. The mine, which is currently in the pre-feasibility stage, is expected to place Madhya Pradesh in the top ten diamond producing regions of the world.

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Both sides are still awaiting approvals, including environmental clearance, to move ahead

“We are waiting for approvals, forestry and environment approvals, which, I am hopeful, will come through in the near-term. Prime Minister and I have met three times during the past six months, and I talked to him about the two major projects and the opportunities,” Walsh said.

Rio Tinto is also interested in the prospect of uranium. For years Rio Tinto has shown interest in selling Australian uranium to India but it remains to be seen whether the company will still be producing the nuclear fuel in Australia by then. Walsh and Prime Minister Modi have been in talks to discuss the prospects of uranium exports to India as well as coal mining opportunities

"Once all those steps are in place, clearly there is an opportunity for us and Australia here," Walsh said.