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Last Updated:[05-03-2009 07:40:35 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

India to Augment Gold Mining to Counter Imports – Opportunities for Foreign Firms

tradenews The Indian government has instructed Geological Survey of India (GSI) to ferret for gold and diamond reserves in all possible locations in India within a period of three years. GSI is a state-owned entity which undertakes geological mapping and mineral exploration for the country.

India is the largest importer of yellow metal in the world and in 2007, the imports stood at 862 tons to subsequently yield to the global economic crisis by just importing about 720 tons in the last year. Before the crisis, several gold consultancies predicted that Indian gold imports would cross 1000 ton mark in 2009.

The prospective states for gold and diamond reserves are identified as Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattishgarh, Bihar, West Bengal and Rajasthan. The country is estimated to be an unexplored home to 20000 tons of gold.

India is planning to bring about new mining policy similar to that of India’s New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) which allowed private partnership in oil & gas exploration and production in the country. It should be noted NELP in force since 1998 has changed the landscape of oil sector of India, and private participation in this area promises to fulfil 100 percent of country’s energy needs by 2020.

According to sources, several majors in this field including De Beers, Anglo-American Gold Mining, Indogold and ACC Rio Tinto Exploration Ltd have shown interest to jointly conduct exploration with India. The country has recently permitted its public sector company, Hindustan Copper Ltd to diversify into gold and diamond for mining collaboration with firms overseas.

India is believed to have ensconced on 10 percent of gold reserves yet produces under 0.5 percent of its gold consumption. According to a latest data, India imports close to $13bn worth of gold per annum and $15bn worth of diamonds. Through the latest directive to GSI and likely modification to mining policy, India hopes to minimize its huge trade deficit by the reduction of largely imported commodities including gold and diamonds by producing within in the country.

By Jose Roy

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