Whether it is mining of iron ore or diamonds, India remains high on the investment radar of Rio Tinto—the world’s leading mining company. The company said it was ready to invest billions of dollars in the Indian mining sector.
In addition to its existing mining project in Orissa with the state-owned NMDC and the Orissa Mining Corporation, Rio Tinto is in talks with the state governments of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Orissa and Goa to undertake new mining projects on its own, managing director (global development) and chief financial officer of Rio Tinto, Alan Davies, told Hindustan Times at the company’s headquarters in Perth.
“India is high on our priority list and we are ready to spend billions of dollars in its mining sector,” he said.
In addition to its Indian projects, Davies confirmed that Rio Tinto was also talking to Indian companies, including the Ruias-promoted Essar Group as also the state-owned Coal India Limited (CIL), for joint mining of coal, iron ore and other mineral resources.
“We are talking to both these companies (Essar and CIL), as also other private majors from India, to work within the country and outside. New prospective markets are being explored, such as Brazil as also Canada, where Rio Tinto already has its operations.”
An Essar Group spokesperson said, “As a group, we keep exploring opportunties worldwide.”
On the diamond mining front, Rio Tinto is all set to invest another $50 million (Rs 235 crore) in its Bunder diamond mining project in Madhya Pradesh. “The Bunder mines are a very important project for Rio Tinto,” said Kevin McLeish, COO of Rio Tinto’s Argyle Diamond Mines.
(The writer’s travel and stay for the story were provided by the Australian High Commission)