(NEWS) Drought-prone Bundelkhand may hit fortune in diamond mining
Siddharth Kalhans in New Delhi
The people of Bundelkhand, who have been facing a drought-like situation for the past five years, may have good times ahead.
Technicians and officials of global diamond major DeBeers and the Directorate of Geology and Mining have been surprised to find a piece of diamond at one of the bore pit in the bed of the Vaghin river near Kalinjer Fort in Banda district.
The Uttar Pradesh government has started getting results from its two-year-old "Diamond Exploration" project. Multi-national firm DeBeers is already conducting preliminary survey of the region, starting from a part of Madhya Pradesh and Banda district in UP.
The UP government has issued Reconscience Permit (RP) to DeBeers. After finding traces of kimberlite pipe (the main source of diamond worldwide) and three pieces of diamond in the region, the state government would very soon be in a position to issue Perspective Licence (PL) to the companies for diamond mining.
According to the deputy director of the mining directorate, SA Farooqui, there could be a wait of another year to prove that diamond can be found in Bundelkhand, but the results of drilling have been encouraging.
The second phase of exploration would prove that Kalinjar valley of Banda was a diamond belt, said the deputy director while talking to Business Standard.
Geologists too have been saying that Semari and Kamoor range of Bundelkhand has rocks containing platinum as well as diamond.
The geologists of the mining directorate had got a breakthrough in the exploration of diamond in the bed of the Vaghin river at Kalinger valley in November 2006 when traces of Kimberlite were found, and subsequently two pieces of diamond were also found.
"The piece of diamond boosted our interest and now the exploration is in full swing," said VK Sharma, a DGM geologist.
"Now, we are zeroing in on the possibility of presence of Kimberlite rocks, which will further confirm our success," he added.
At present the DGM gives a revenue of Rs 354 crore (Rs 3.54 billion) per year to the state. Once the department succeeds in the diamond project, the revenue collection would increase dramatically, said the DGM deputy director.