By Anupama Airy
India, the second largest importer of Gold after China, is working on a plan to revive gold reserves worth $2 billion from a couple of its age old gold mines that have been lying shut for more than 15 years.
“We are committed to make Bharat Sone (Gold) Ki Chidiya again. Gold reserves worth $2 billion to be revived, it will bring down the import of gold,” Union Mines Minister, Piyush Goyal also holding the charge of power, RE and coal ministries said in a tweet on Friday.
The country spends more than $30 billion a year buying 1000 tonnes of this yellow metal from abroad, making gold as India’s second-biggest import item after crude oil, also referred to as black gold. In contrast, the deficit is huge as the country’s own production of gold stands at a mere 3 tonnes.
Ministry sources confirmed that the state-owned Mineral Exploration Corp has already started exploring the reserves at Kolar Gold Fields, located in the southern state of Karnataka.
Alongside, SBI Capital is also assisting the government to assess the finances of the defunct state-run Bharat Gold Mines Ltd, which controls the gold mines.
According to mines secretary, Balvinder Kumar said the Kolar mines have huge potential and can help the government bring down its import bill.
Initial estimates show reserves worth $1.17 billion in the Kolar mines with another $880.28 million lying as gold-bearing deposits in residual dumps from previous mining operations.
These assessments are underway and will be complete by July this year. The final road ahead will be decided based on the assessment.