Jamshedpur, April 24: De Beers India Prospecting Private Limited, the Indian arm of the South African diamond major, has bagged the reconnaissance (survey of a region) permit to carry out an aerial survey for locating diamond and other precious metals at Koderma.
The well-known South African company, which has the experience and the expertise for diamond prospecting, had earlier applied to the state government for carrying out the survey in the region in 2005.
Officials of the state mining department said the permit was approved last week. Chief minister Madhu Koda also confirmed this to The Telegraph over phone from Ranchi. “The company has been engaged in carrying out surveys in both Orissa and Chhattisgarh, besides several other states. The survey at Koderma have been earmarked in two areas measuring about 3,500 sq km,” said Koda.
According to Koda, De Beers had plans to spend about Rs 100 crore on air-borne geo-physical surveys. The company claims to have invested Rs 100 million so far in conducting surveys in other states.
Sources in the mines and geology department said the permit was delayed because of the company’s reluctance to commit that it would cut and polish diamonds as well. De Beers is a supplier of diamonds but gets them cut and polished by certified marketing agencies.
The chief minister added that the government would like to follow a uniform policy of issuing permits for mineral exploration. “Unless companies are willing to add value to the minerals, they cannot be allowed to take the minerals away,” he said.
In 2003, De Beers had conducted preliminary surveys to identify fields in Lohardaga, Koderma and the banks of the Sankh river where there could be a possibility of diamonds.