After British-Australian firm Rio Tinto announced plans to invest Rs 2,200 crore in the state by 2016, the Madhya Pradesh government is working towards establishing a diamond cutting and polishing hub in Indore, touting it as a destination bigger than Surat, India's diamond heartland.
The state government is in talks with investors to set up base in Madhya Pradesh. Besides, the government has also allocated a 350-acre land to set up a diamonds, gems and jewellery park in the Rangwasa village of Indore.
"We are the largest producer of diamond in India and the aim is to capitalise it further," said Sanjay Dubey, managing director, Madhya Pradesh Audyogik Vikas Nigam. "Investor participation is huge and we'll be able to give more details in October."
The Surat diamond manufacturing industry employs around 500,000. Over 70% of the world's diamonds are cut and polished in Surat.
Rio Tinto's Bunder diamond exploration was discovered in 2004 and once developed (by 2016), it will catapult Madhya Pradesh into the league of the world's top ten diamond-producing regions. Rio estimates the first quantifiable estimate of ore-body to be 37 million tonnes, containing 27.4 million carats.
"We are looking at developing an appetite for 'Indian-diamonds' in India over the next few years," said Bruce Cox, managing director, Rio Tinto Diamonds.