India’s only gold producer Hutti Gold Mines plans to triple annual production of the yellow metal to 5,000 kgs in one-and-a-half years, according to Karnataka Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh R Nirani.
Nirani, who completes one month in office as cabinet minister in the BJP-ruled Karnataka government, added that due to COVID-19, the revenue from mines auction so far in the current fiscal could reach only 85 per cent of the Rs 3,700 crore achieved in 2019-20. But in the next fiscal, it is expected to surpass the target of Rs 4,000 crore.
The minister also highlighted the new policy measures the state government is working on to curb illegal mining and attract investment, including introducing a single-window clearance system and holding ‘mining adalats’ for addressing grievances, besides ramping up gold production in the state.
Speaking to PTI, the minister said Karnataka has the distinction of being the only gold ore producer in India. There are enough reserves, technology and market for gold, the price of which has soared to over Rs 47,000 per 10 grams now.
Hutti Gold Mines Company Limited (HGML), a Karnataka government undertaking, operates one unit each in Raichur and Chitradurga districts. “Currently, HGML is producing 1,700 kg per annum. Within 18 months, the plan is to increase gold production to 5,000 kg per annum,” Nirani said.
According to the HGML website, the Chitradurga unit’s operations for gold mining and processing ore have been temporarily suspended and the company has diversified into wind farm projects.
On revenue earned from mines auction in 2020-21, Nirani said it has reached only 85 per cent of the Rs 3,700 crore achieved in the 2019-20 fiscal. “The revenue was lower this year because of lack of mining activities in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic. However for next fiscal, our target is to achieve Rs 4,000 crore. We expect to surpass this,” he added.
Nirani, who discussed these issues with Union Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi on Saturday in the national capital, said the central government has assured it of support and cooperation on this issue.