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Chhattisgarh to put its lone gold block for auction

Business Standard:  October, 2015

Raipur: The Chhattisgarh government had decided to explore and extract gold from its lone block and will float a tender to grant composite licence soon.
The gold reserve, spread across 6.1 square kilometres, is located in Baghmara village of Sonakhan block in Balodabazar district. The only gold block in the state has been demarcated in some 610-hectare area covered by thick forest.

The exploration work in the block was carried out twice - in 1980 and 2003 by government agencies. But the work could not progress and was abandoned. Now, the Chhattisgarh government had again decided to explore and mine gold from the block.

“The state government is floating a tender to auction Baghmara gold mine to grant composite licence (that includes both prospecting and mining licences),” Subodh Kumar Singh, secretary with the mining department, told Business Standard.

The block has been included in the schedule IV of Mines & Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act, 1957. Hence, it would be allocated through auction route only.  

The company bagging the licence would first carry out the exploration work and later mine the mineral. This would be the first occasion when gold would be excavated in Chhattisgarh that is otherwise known for its rich iron-ore and coal reserves.

According to mining department officials, the exploration work would be carried out by the private company with modern resources that would help in calculating the exact quantity of the reserve.

“The explorations conducted by the government agencies earlier were with limited resources and drilling could be done only upto 150 meters,” one of the officials said. The gold bearing layer beneath the surface are found upto 650-metre deep, he added.

In the two explorations, 29 bores were drilled and geologists observed on the basis of 1,138 samples collected that the reserve contained 1,800 kilograms of gold, the officials said, adding that it could be more as exploration was conducted only upto 150 meters that too with the old equipment and technology.