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Rio Tinto Appoints Malkani to Oversee the Bunder Diamond Project

May 15, 2012 2:47 AM   By Dilipp S Nag
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RAPAPORT... Rio Tinto appointed Tarun Malkani to lead its Bunder diamond project in Madhya Pradesh, India. Malkani will assume the position of chief operating officer on July 1 after having served as the director for Rio Tinto's aluminum business in India.

Malkani, an engineer by trade, joins the diamond division of Rio Tinto as the Bunder project moves into the advanced stages of its pre-feasibility study.

"I am delighted that Tarun is joining the diamonds business in India at such a pivotal time in the development of the Bunder project,” said Bruce Cox, the managing director of Rio Tinto Diamonds. ''Tarun's extensive experience in a number of diverse industries, both in established and emerging markets will be invaluable in identifying opportunities for advancing Rio Tinto's diamond business in India."

Malkani said, "These are exciting times for the Indian diamond industry. I am looking forward to working with the team at Bunder and building on our reputation in India as a valued partner across the whole diamond supply chain."

Rio Tinto discovered the Bunder diamond project in 2004 and it signed a support agreement with the government of Madhya Pradesh in 2010 as an endorsement of the mutual commitment to develop the project. An inferred resource,  the first quantifiable estimate of an ore-body, was defined at 27.4 million carats.

The company received approval for the Bunder project mining lease in January 2012 from Madhya Pradesh and is now working on the mine plan and environmental approvals required to execute the mining lease.

Rio Tinto, which has spent more than $60 million so far in exploration and evaluation activities, plans to invest $500 million to fully develop the Bunder project. It expects Madhya Pradesh to be in the top 10 diamond-producing regions of the world once the Bunder diamond mine is developed.

Tags: Bunder, Bunder Diamond Project, diamond, diamonds, Dilipp S Nag, India, Madhya Pradesh, Rapaport, Rio Tinto, Rio Tinto Diamonds, Tarun Malkani
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