In a bid to stop arbitrariness and corruption in diamond mining, India has decided to delink the industry’s excavation and exploration rights.
Before, companies are granted mining rights for specific pieces of land to explore and gain profits from. But with the new policy, the government will be the one paying for exploration projects and putting findings through an open bidding process.
Speaking at the International Diamond Conference, Indian Minister Piyush Goyal said that the proceeds from the bidding will be used in helping the poor. He stated:
“India plans to change rules of the game through exploration. The moment we give exploration or mining license, the government gets the ability to choose, to give it to a person of choice. There is the possibility of corruption there, because it involves giving rights to a person of interest for quite a few years. Our effort is to eliminate corruption, discretion. Usually, the exploration and mining company then charges a hefty cost for its findings. It asserts that it can charge that premium because of the risk it takes in mining. But the natural wealth should be used for the benefit of the poor.”
Goyal added that the government will have separate contracts for exploration. Under the new rules, it will pay the cost, providing an incentive if anything of value is found, and the data gathered from exploration will be placed in public domain. Then, a bidding process for the findings will be undertaken.
Aside from this, the government is also planning to set up a separate gems and jewelry university in the western state of Maharashtra. According to industry leaders, this is a great step to enhance specialized management in the country’s diamond mining industry.