A proposed diamond mining project in India could lead to the felling of over 200,000 trees

The proposed Bunder diamond block in the Chhatarpur district of Madhya Pradesh has been in the news for the wrong reasons over the years. The diamond mine project, which is now with Aditya Birla Group’s Essel Mining & Industries Limited (EMIL), is once again facing dark clouds due to protests over ecological concerns, as it could result in the felling of over 200,000 trees.

The proposed project will be spread across an area of 364 hectares in the Buxwaha forests, which is about 225 kilometres northeast of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh’s capital city. The block is estimated to have 34 million carats of rough diamonds. The National Mineral Development Corporation’s (NMDC) existing diamond mine is about 175 kilometres from Bunder.

According to EMIL, it plans to develop a fully mechanised opencast mine and state of the art processing plant for recovery of diamonds with an investment of about Rs2,500 crore ($375.7 million). It notes that the project, once operational, has the potential to become one of the largest diamond mines in the Asian region. The company targets the execution of the mining lease by the end of the financial year 2022.

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