As per national mineral inventory data, India has 501.83 million tonnes of gold ore reserves. The government has taken some steps to properly explore the gold reserves and reduce the cost incurred on the extraction of gold.
Sharing the data on the table of Rajya Sabha, Minister of Mines, Coal and Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi informed that according to national mineral inventory data, the total reserves/resources of gold ore (primary) in the country have been estimated at 501.83 million tonnes as of April 1, 2015.
"Out of these, 17.22 million tonnes were placed under the reserves category, and the remaining 484.61 million tonnes under the 'remaining resources' category," the Minister informed the House, in a written reply.
In India, the largest resources of gold ore (primary) are located in Bihar (44 percent) followed by Rajasthan (25 percent), Karnataka (21percent), West Bengal (3 percent), Andhra Pradesh (3 percent ), Jharkhand (2 percent). The remaining 2 percent resources of ore are located in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu.
Geological mapping going on to identify mineral-rich zones
Geological Survey of India (GSI) is actively engaged in geological mapping followed by mineral exploration (survey) for various mineral commodities, including gold, to identify potential mineral-rich zones and establish resources.
Every year, as per the approved annual Field Season Program, GSI takes up mineral exploration projects in various parts of the country for augmenting mineral resources.
Steps initiated to reduce gold extraction cost
Recently, the Government of India has amended the Minerals (Evidence of Mineral Contents) rules to allow auction of composite license at G4 level for deep-seated minerals including gold. This is expected to bring more participation from private players with advanced technology in the field of exploration and mining of deep-seated minerals, which is expected to reduce the cost of extraction of gold. The minister, however, made it clear that there is no proposal to restart the closed gold mines.
Mining reforms in the offing
Ministry of Mines has amended the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Act, 1957 through the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2021 which has been notified on 28.03.2021 for giving a boost to mineral production, improving ease of doing business in the country, and increasing contribution of mineral production to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).