1 Lakh carats diamonds from Panna by 2010-11 – Virbhadra Singh

Shimla: Fresh from having re-opened the famed Panna diamond mines, last week, Virbhadra Singh union steel minister and mining said that the target was to produce 1 lakh carats of diamond by 2010-11 from these mines in Madha Pradesh.

Speaking to media persons here he said, “we are going to invest about Rs 20 crores to meet the production target by next fiscal.”

The mines operated by National Mining Development Corporation (NDMC), a government owned company, were shut down about four years over environmental concerns.

After settling the contentious issues, the minister for steel and mining had the mines re-opened last Friday.

NDMC, on directions from the Supreme Court, has deposited Rs 10.69 crore with the state government for reopening the diamond mines.

As the Panna mines falls within Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary, wild life concerns had led to closing down the area for mining in August 2005.

The minister said that the Madhya Pradesh government had been requested to permit NMDC to explore adjoining areas of Panna mines as Chattarpur district is also considered rich in diamond reserves.

Other mineral rich areas of Madhya Pradesh such as Shahdol and Umaria district, which are rich in coal deposits also need to be explored, he added.

Being the one of the few mechanised diamond mines in Asia, mining at Panna was started in 1968-69.

Counting re-opening of the mines as one of the 100 day targets of the UPA government, Virbhadra said that over the next two months NMDC is expected to mine about 5000 carats of diamonds.

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