Renewed Hope For Panna: Steel Ministry Targets July Timeline To Resume Operations At Diamond Mines


The Ministry of Steel intends to re-commence operations at Panna diamond mines in Madhya Pradesh from July this year.

These mines are managed by National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) Limited; the largest iron ore merchant miner in the country and a Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) under the ministry’s purview.

The Ministry has set a timeline of 15 June for obtaining environmental clearances and will start production from July 1, according to a report in businessline.

The NMDC mine stopped operating from 1 January 2021 as its environmental clearance ended on 31 December 2020. The operations came to a halt after the director of Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) issued a letter to the general manager of the mine project, directing the closure of the excavation from 1 January.

Panna Mines

The Diamond Mining Project at village Majhgawan in Panna district commenced production of diamond in 1971-72.

The mine is located about 15 km from the Panna town and is the only mechanized diamond mine in the country. The project is equipped with an ore processing plant including a heavy media separation unit, an X-ray sorter for diamond separation, and a disposal system for the tailings generated.

Panna has more than 74 hectares of mechanised mining inside the protected area of Gangau Wildlife Sanctuary of Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR) which is spread over an area of 54,200 hectares across Panna and Chhatarpur districts.

With a capacity of mining about 84,000 carats of diamond per annum, over 13 lakh carat diamonds have been mined in Panna.

In FY21, the mines had achieved a production of 13,681 carats, while there was no production in FY22, as per the NMDC’s last fiscal annual report.

Sources said that about 8 lakh carats of diamond deposits still exist in the mines where about 200 employees and officials work. It also generates indirect employment for hundreds of local dwellers who have been severely affected by the closing of mines.

The State government had moved Supreme Court against the order of mine closure and the apex court in November last year allowed NMDC to continue diamond mining activities in Panna, after getting necessary environmental clearance.

The resumption of mining at the NMDC’s mine at Panna is expected to boost the diamond business.