Home » Nonfiction » Gayatri Chandrashekar » GRIT AND GOLD

July 25 , 2008



India is estimated to have 9% of the global gold reserves spread over 100 places across its land mass. Southern India’s Deccan region has indeed been identified as one of the areas with the richest deposits and this has been proved by the documented history of past mining here. Mining activities can contribute greatly to the growth of the industrial sector, but India is yet to realise the mining fuelled growth. Mining contributes no more than 2.5% to the nation’s GDP and employment to just 700,000 people. Australia has seen its gold production increase manifold in the 20 years from 1980, with the infusion of latest technology and high risk capital. On the other hand, procedural delays and varied and different license requirements for prospecting and mining, the lack of technology and sufficient venture funds have slowed down the growth of mining in India. The ecological and social impact of mining can be devastating on forests and wild life and burden the weaker sections of society with loss of livelihood and way of life. However, unlike coal, iron or manganese which lie buried under precious forests in many parts of India, gold seems to occur in areas less vulnerable to damage. While India mines many metals only to satisfy its own domestic needs, the consumption of gold is enormous at 880 tonnes or more per annum while production is only about 2 to 3.5 tonnes. Indeed the appetite for gold is insatiable and growing. The country barely produces 0.4 percent of its gold consumption. It is a good time to look at how a British company ran a successful and profitable mining enterprise in India for 76 years and created standards and pioneering technologies for deep mining for the world.
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