Central government is planning to revive a cluster of colonial-era gold mines – shut for 15 years but with an estimated $2.1 billion worth of deposits left – as India looks for ways to cut its trade deficit, officials told media.
State-run Mineral Exploration Corp Ltd has started exploring the reserves at Kolar Gold Fields in Karnataka, to get a better estimate of the deposits, according to a briefing document prepared by the federal mines ministry that was seen by Reuters.
The ministry has also appointed SBI Capital to assess the finances of the defunct state-run Bharat Gold Mines Ltd, which controls the mines, and the dues the company owes to workers and the authorities, said the officials, who are involved in the process, Business Standard reported.
India, world’s second biggest gold importer, spends at least $30 billion a year for purchasing gold from abroad. More than 900 tonnes of gold are imported by India every year.
Gold is the second-biggest import item after crude oil.
The Kolar fields, located about 65 km (40 miles) northeast of the technology hub of Bengaluru, are among the world’s deepest gold mines.