SYDNEY – An Australian-Indian consortium wants to restart gold mining in a district that helped symbolize former British rule in India and produced some 25 million ounces over 150 years before being abandoned due to low bullion prices.
Mining in the Kolar gold field in Karnataka state in Southern India ended in 2001 as gold prices slumped. But a government tender could lead to mining leases held by Bharat Gold Mines Ltd sold to the highest bidder and operations resume.
A restart would come amid resurgent gold prices and steps by India to monetize some of the estimated 20,000 tonnes of gold held by its citizens and slow imports to free up capital to strengthen its economy.
India is one of the world’s largest importers of gold, but mines only a pittance on its own. National demand reached 654.3 tonnes in the second half of last year, the third highest year on record, according to the World Gold Council
Australian miner Citigold Corp, which has been conducting field visits to the Kolar sites since 2006, has agreed to partner with Indian conglomerate Essel Group to tender for the assets from the government.
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