NMDC to revive diamond mining at Panna after three years

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Hyderabad, Aug 29 (UNI) The diamond mining activities at Panna in Madhya Pradesh, the country's only diamond mine, will be revived by National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) more than three years after it was stopped by the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board(MPPCB).

The MPPCB on 22 August 2005, had directed the stoppage of diamond mining activities at Panna. As directed by the Central Empowered Committee, constituted by the Supreme Court, the plant operation was suspended and there has been no production of diamonds since April 19, 2006.

However, the apex court on August 13, 2008 had permitted resumption of the Panna diamond activity, subject to certain conditions of payment of net present value (NPV), depositing five per cent of the capital cost undertaking conservation and protection in the Panna National Park and Panna Wildlife Sanctuary.

Even as a Committee under the Chairmanship of the Chief Wildlife Warden will monitor the project, prescribing various safeguards for the operations of the mines, the NMDC was planning to resume production targeting one-lakh carats valued at more than Rs 15 crore. Though there was no production, the NMDC had sold 14,588 carats valued at Rs 10.6 crore in 2006 to 2007.

The Corporation sales in 2007-2008 dropped by 82 per cent to 2632 carats, valued at Rs 3.75 crore in 2007-2008 from the accumulated stock.

Talking to newspersons here NMDC Chairman and Managing Director Rana Som said ''We intend to get the diamonds from Panna at the earliest, which will be mostly industrial diamonds and some portion of gem quality''.

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