India's production of diamonds is currently negligible at a meager 0.04% of the global production. NDMC is the only organized producer of diamond in India.However, India is a major hub for diamond processing, which involves the cutting and polishing of diamonds. The country imports diamonds in the rough form and exports them in the finished form after cutting and polishing. India continues to be the dominant player in the global cutting and polishing industry with an 800,000-strong workforce, followed by China with around 25,000 people employed. The Indian gems and jewellery (processing)
The value added to imports (the value of polished diamond exported the less value of imported rough diamond) was 136% in 2010-11, as opposed to 43% in 2007-08, reflecting the increasing margins in the business.
There are new and diverse opportunities for accelerated exploration with robust demand for rough diamonds in the diamond processing industry in India. The efforts to increase the local production by discovering new diamond resources, at least to some extent, are ongoing.
Broadly, India has three diamond provinces: Central Indian, East Indian and South Indian provinces. The following regions have been identified as the target areas for diamond exploration:
Granite-greenstone terrain of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and adjacent areas;
Bastar Craton in Maharashtra;
GSI continued exploration activities for the search of kimberlite (the source rock of diamond) in Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa. The Directorate of Geology, Orissa, has explored areas in the Nuapada district.
Among the few private investments in diamond exploration in India, Rio Tinto's Bunder diamond project in Madhya Pradesh is the most significant find. Rio Tinto has discovered a total of 14 kimberlite/lamproites and the estimated resource at the site is around 27 million carats. The project, which is currently in the pre-feasibility stage, can be expected to be in production by 2016. This discovery is reportedly the world's largest diamond discovery in the last decade. With this discovery, India's diamond resource has risen sharply from 4.58 million carats to 31.5 million carats.
The government has granted RPs of an area of over 140,000 sq. km. for diamond exploration in the past six years. Up to March 2011, the total area of RPs granted and RPs relinquished stand at 3,02,062 sq. km. and 2,10,892 sq. km. The total area of PLs applied and granted are 2,100 and 881, respectively. However, there are no MLs applied or granted as yet. Apart from Rio Tinto, companies with PLs applied include De Beers, Jindal Steel,Geo Mysore. Several other private players have also been granted RPs.With the entry of private players and latest technologies, discovery rates have also improved.
In addition to GSI's 40 discoveries over the last decade, De Beers and Rio Tinto have discovered 84 kimberlites/
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