India’s state-owned NMDC wins gold mining bid in Andhra Pradesh

India’s National Mineral Development Corporation beat mining giants Adani and Vedanta for a gold mine located in the Chittoor district of the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh.

“This is first time that the NMDC is going to take up gold mining in India. We are the highest bidder in the e-auction for the gold mine located in Andhra Pradesh. Now the state government will call us to fulfil other formalities,” National Mineral Development Corporation Director (production) P K Satpathy told Press Trust of India (PTI).

The Chittoor mine site is called Chigargunta-Bisanatham and it extends for 263.01 hectares. Government officials told the news agency that it has estimated reserves of 1.83 million tonnes containing 5.15 grams of gold per tonne.

Chigargunta-Bisanatham will be an underground mine and it would mark the first time the NMDC develops this type of operation. First production is expected two years after the permitting process is done.

Initial investment is estimated about $4.5 billion. The government of India would get 38.25 per cent revenue on sale value.

NMDC is currently developing a mine in Tanzania and is planning to set up gold refining facility there. In recent years, the orporation has been focusing efforts on gold mining. It is currently developing the Bulyang Ombe mine in central Tanzania. At the same time its Australian subsidiary, Legacy Iron Ore, is exploring as many as 17 tenements in the Western Australian region.

It may be recalled that NMDC was granted mining leases for a ten-year period at Bulyang Ombe gold prospect in 2012 across a total area of 38.83 square kms. Earlier reports had suggested that the company had plans to invest at least $ 50 million in the development of these gold mines.

It had carried out exploration in the southern region of Lake Victoria and north-western part of Tanzania more than ten years ago before delineating the mining lease areas.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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