The Madhya Pradesh Government today said the Rio Tinto Group has withdrawn from the Bunder diamond mining project in the state on its own. "Rio Tinto had decided to withdraw from the Bunder diamond mining project in Chhatarpur district on its own. The company has also decided to donate its assets here to the state government," the Minister of Mines Rajendra Shukla told the Legislative Assembly. He was replying to a question raised by the Congress MLA Bala Bachchan who alleged that the "sudden exit" of Rio Tinto Group from the project has raised "certain apprehensions." "Rio Tinto's decision to leave the project midway has raised apprehensions, which were also expressed by a state Cabinet minister.
The Company might have explored a sizable amount of diamonds from the site before withdrawing from the project," Bachchan said. Shukla, however, dismissed the Congress MLA's claim. "The company had deposited royalty of Rs 64 lakh and explored the diamonds for the sampling work. There is no truth in allegations that the company explored a large amount of diamonds from this site because the commercial production was not started," Shukla said. The company had announced last year that it would end the project to cut costs and conserve cash.
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