They are calling it the great Indian gold rush. Within months, Indian officials are expected to auction licences for new gold mines across the country, and abandoned colonial-era mines are set to be revived.
India is the world’s largest consumer of the precious metal, importing more than 1,000 tonnes a year. In August alone, 120 tonnes were brought in, and demand is expected to rise still further in the runup to Diwali and weddings season. Local production of gold totals less than two tonnes.
Successive governments have struggled to turn Indians away from gold, which economists say accounts for almost a third of the country’s deficit.
Now ministers want to increase domestic supply and believe gold worth more than £2.5bn can be mined in the dusty hills of Kolar, in the southern state of Karnataka, with more to come from other sites in the west and centre of the country.
Balvinder Kumar, of the mines ministry, told the Guardian: “There have been investigations and explorations by state governments and we believe there is gold there that can be exploited. These are some very deep and old mines. We will put about 80 [mines] to auction within two or three months.”
via The Guardian