MAC: Mines and Communities

Sitting Pretty On Gold And Diamonds

Published by MAC on 2005-12-24

Sitting pretty on gold and diamonds

Economic Times

24th December 2005

HYDERABAD: About ten multi-national companies have been waiting for the Central Government's permission to take up mining for diamond and gold deposits at 17 places along the course of the Krishna river in Andhra Pradesh for nearly two years, having been caught in bureaucratic tangle.

Based on the recommendations of the Telugu Desam government, the Centre had sanctioned 38 reconnaissance permits to these firms during 2001-2002 to explore gold and diamond deposits.

Subsequently, each firm has reportedly spent crores of rupees for taking up detailed aeromagnetic, geo-physical and surface sampling surveys in 42,500 sq km area. They identified the gold and diamond deposits at Banaganapalli, Pagadarai, Jonnagiri and Yerragudi villages in Kurnool district, Pamidi, Ramagiri, Vajrakarur and Lattavaram villages in Anantapur district, Jaggaiahpet in Krishna district and a few more places in Kadapa, Prakasam, Chittoor, Nellore, Mahboobnagar, Rangareddy and Guntur districts.

Based on the survey, the firms later applied for 42 prospecting licences which are still pending with Delhi. These firms include De Beers, CRA Exploration Ltd, National Mineral Development Corporation, Geo Mysore, BHP Minerals India Ltd and its subsidiary BHP Khanija Anveshana Ltd, Philips Dodge Exploration India Ltd and Anglo American Exploration Ltd.

Geological Survey of India (GSI) and Mineral Exploration Corporation of India (MECI) have also identified Dona and Mantralayam in Kurnool district for exploration for diamonds.

"We are waiting for the Centre's approval so that other clearances from departments like Revenue and Forests can be expedited," officials of the Industries Department told Express.

The State Government would get a royalty of 20 per cent from mining. The estimated gold ore reserves in Andhra Pradesh are around 6.839 million tonnes.

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