Kolar Gold Fields' digging ways to regain its lost glitter

Ministry of Mines plans to rope in NALCO to reap again

The Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), situated 100 kms from Bangalore, is the second deepest mine in the world and has mined gold for over 121 years.

It was closed in 2001 after being found unviable due to low gold yield and increasing cost of production.The BGML, which was mining gold in KGF till closure, was producing just over 10 grams of gold per one tonne ore and was even unable to pay wages of workers.
The Centre’s new plan to revive the gold mine is in tandem with the findings of parliamentary standing committees, constituted in 1994, 1997 and 2000, that at least 30 lakh tonne of gold still lie unexploited in the KGF.

According to estimates, the mine could be tapped to yield 15 tonne of gold annually for the next 20 years.

“With the availability of latest technology and prices of gold sky rocketing, even if we get 5 gram of gold per tonne of ore, it can be considered a windfall.

Hence it is worth starting the company,” sources in the Union Ministry of Mines said.
The Karnataka High Court had also, while hearing a petition on the BGML’s closure, once suggested that the Centre should look for the mine’s possible revival.

Besides, basic infrastructure is still alive with the BGML having huge assets including 12,000 acres of land in the area. This was going waste, and as per a recent Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report, 502.48 acres of BGML’s land valued at Rs 26.27 crore have been encroached upon.

Based on all these, the Ministry is preparing a detailed proposal to be presented before a committee of secretaries headed by Union Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekar.
“Once the committee vets it, the mines ministry will place the same before the Union Cabinet for a final decision,” Ministry sources told Deccan Herald.

The plan is to pull in navratna company NALCO to revive the gold mine.
“As the NALCO has rich experience in mining activities and has a capital of Rs 4000 crore, it can play a major role in rejuvenating KGF,” sources added.
DH News Service

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