Business Standard

Baldota group set to start gold mining in Karnataka next year

Will become the first private company to mine the yellow metal in the country

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Hospet-based (RMML), a company, is in advanced stages of beginning gold mining operations in the Gadag district of Karnataka. The company is awaiting forest permits from the state government to execute its lease for one of the eight gold mining blocks explored in the district, a top company official said.

“We have secured approvals from the state government for setting up a 1,000 tonnes per day (TPD) gold ore processing plant in Gadag district. The plant is being set up in technical collaboration with a South African gold mining company, Turnberry. It will come up at Attikatti village in Gadag district at an initial investment of Rs 300 crore. We are planning to start operations at Sangli village by July 2013,” B L Jain, vice-president, told Business Standard.

The company has been granted mining rights in an open cast mine at Sangli village, about 32 km from Gadag. The mine is spread over 98 hectares.

As operations begin next year, RMML would become the first private sector gold mining company in India. Presently, only one public sector company, Karnataka government-owned Hutti Gold Mines Company Ltd, is operating a gold mine in the Raichur district of Karnataka. The other gold mining company, Ltd (BGML) has wound up operations at Kolar Gold Fields near Bangalore.

Jain said the exploration carried out by the company in eight villages of Gadag have shown that 2.8 grams of gold could be extracted from every tonne of ore. “We will be operating one of the low-grade gold mines in the country. Due to very high prices of gold in the market, it makes sense for us to extract gold at these deposits,” he said. Hutti Gold Mines extracts about five grams of gold per tonne of ore.

Established in 1961, the Baldota Group has been in the business of exploration, mining and marketing of minerals. It operates a 1.2 million tonnes per annum pellet plant in Koppal district and is also in the process of setting up a 1.2 MTPA integrated steel plant.

The company has been exploring in the Gadag district for the last six years and has been allotted eight villages to explore. It is now in the final stages of securing mining lease for one of these. Other gold mining blocks in the region are Kabuliyatkatti south and main blocks, Mysore mines, block 23, Nabhapur south, central and north blocks.

“The Sangli mine is estimated to contain 2.4 million tonnes of gold ore and each tonne is expected to yield 2.8 grams of gold. At this rate, we will produce 8,000 kg of gold from this mine alone,” Anirban Sen, deputy general manager, MSPL Ltd, another Baldota group company said. MSPL extracts and exports iron ore.

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