New Delhi, 28 January 2015: “Administrative roadblocks notwithstanding, fresh exploration and evaluation of dumps and mines of erstwhile Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML) must be undertaken to understand its value and potential”, said the Union Minister of Steel and Mines, Narendra Singh Tomar while addressing a meeting of senior mines officials at Shastri Bhawan here today. The meeting was attended by the Secretary, Ministry of Mines, Dr. Anup K Pujari, Additional Secretary (Mines) R. Sridharan, senior officials of Mines Ministry and Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited.
Previously known as Kolar Gold Mines, Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML) was a PSU under the Ministry of Mines which ran into heavy losses and was eventually closed down in March 2001. A 2006 cabinet decision, later supported by the Apex Court, prescribed the global tender route to ascertain the value of its assets. The fate of the matter, however, has remained hanging owing to a protracted legal wrangle between stakeholders with conflicting interests. Straddling between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, BGML used to operate four mining leases before its closure. The biggest gold reserve of BGML, Kolar Gold Field (KGF), lies in Karnataka. The mining lease of KGF expired in 2013, application for whose renewal was filed in time, and is subject to fulfilment of some conditions. As per rough estimates, even after 120 years of mining, the value of this golden goose runs into a couple of thousand crores.
The meeting deliberated over several options to solve persisting issues in the region. Mulling over the alternatives, Tomar advised bifurcation of issues into administrative and mining. He urged state exploration agencies to re-evaluate the dumps as well as the mines of BGML, in order to determine the correct value of these mines. Tomar concluded the meeting by underscoring the need to decide over issues pertaining to BGML at the earliest.