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1990: Diamond Mine Development in India Is Confronting Unnecessary Delays

November 1997

The government of India has extended its deadline for an additional month on bids for mine development at its Madhya Pradesh Diamond Mining project.

The extension follows the failure of the government and De Beers to come to terms on an agreement for the mine’s development and marketing.

As per the new deadline, the tender will be held through December 17, 1997.

Leading Australian, Candian and American producers are expected to submit bids for the project. The project covers eleven blocks (each measuring around 5000 sq. kms.) located in the districts of Raipur, Bastar, Durg, Rajandgaon, Bilaspur, Raigarh, Surguja, Sidhi, Satna, Panna and Chhatarpura in Madhya Pradesh — all in the area around the existing Panna mine — which dates back to 800 B.C..

Meanwhile, recent turmoil in Asian financial markets has cut into Indian polished diamond exports with the chairman of India’s Gem and Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) projecting only marginal growth in fiscal 1997/8 over 1996/97 diamond exports of around $4.3 billion.

The chairman, Praveen Shankar Pandya, noted that business in Japan and Thailand was particularly hard hit, with Indian diamond exports to Japan about 90% lower than three years ago.

In Thailand, diamond importers bore the brunt of recent currency devaluations — which caused them to lose some $70 to $80 million on purchased for jewelry factories. Pandya noted that business had been lackluster in America and Europe as well.

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