BGML’s fortunes may glitter again

Bangalore, Deccan Herald, 7 June 2004 :

Results of a reconnaissance survey in two blocks of the Kolar schist belt are encouraging and further research may lead to the opening of new mines in the region.

Bangalore, PTI: Revival of the closed Bharat Gold Mines Ltd (BGML), the oldest gold mine in the country, in Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) and allowing further exploration in Kolar Schist belt will open up new golden opportunities in the Kolar region, a top official of Mines and Geology department said.

There are three options available before the government for infusing new life into the mines at KGF.

The first involves processing the dumps which are lying in the KGF area to recover gold, Dr M Basappa Reddy, Director, Mines and Geology told PTI.

The other is to restart the mines after detonating it and adopting the latest technology in ore processing and recovery of gold.

Simultaneously, exploration for gold within the Kolar schist belt has to be carried out and mining also has to take place to recover gold, he said.

Independent of the processing of dumps and revival of gold mines, detailed exploration can be carried out to locate new deposits in the region, he said.

“However, the first and third options appear more lucrative,” Reddy said.

Results obtained by Geomysore Services (India) Pvt Ltd (GMSI), a fully owned subsidiary of Australian Indian Resources Limited, carrying out reconnaissance survey in two blocks in the Kolar schist belt are “encouraging” and such further studies may result in opening of new mines in the region, he said.

Welcoming the government’s move to revive the closed BGML, Sandeep Lakhwara, Managing Director, GMSI said, “the step is most welcome in the light of hardships suffered by the local mining population.”

GMSI, with its updated technology in the exploration, mining, and milling fields and access to funds required for mining is “very keen to take part in the revival process, given an opportunity,” he said.

According to Lakhwara, there may be more untapped gold resources surrounding KGF, which needs detailed exploration.

These resources, when found along with 30 million tones of KGF and the shallowly developed Chigargunta Mines bordering Andhra Pradesh, which are self-sustainable, can be developed into profit-making projects, bringing back the lost glory of KGF, he said.

It may be noted that Union Minister of State for Surface Transport, KH Muniyappa, who represents Kolar in the Lok Sabha, recently announced the government’s keenness to revive BGML. He had said that government was in talks with three companies, including an Australian firm, for the process.

Lakhwara, however, denied that theirs was the Australian firm being referred to. “We are not the Australian company being referred to. Our exploration track record in India is however much stronger and we are keen to be part of a revival programme,” he said.