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June 23, 2001
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De Beers, Rio proposal for aerial surveys may get Maharashtra govt nod

Renni Abraham

A proposal submitted by international diamond majors - US-based De Beers and the UK-based Rio Tinto - for reconnoiter permits is under the active consideration of the Maharashtra state cabinet.

A senior government official said, "the proposal was submitted by the two international diamond majors who are seeking to conduct an aerial survey over 10,000 sq km in the Vidarbha, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Bhandara regions of the state to detect diamond deposits."

This is the second time that international firms are being considered for conducting these geo-physical surveys in the state for detecting mineral deposits and the first time in respect of precious stones.

During the erstwhile Shiv Sena-BJP government, another foreign firm that floated a joint venture Australia-India Resource Ltd was granted permission two years back to prospect for gold and tungsten in the Vidarbha region .

The official said the firm has detected gold deposits in sizable quantity in the Kuhi Bhiwapur taluka in the Vidarbha region.

Once deposits are indicated through the aerial geo-physical surveys, the two foreign firms could then apply for a mining license to mine for rough diamonds, the official added.

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