Bihar can well be the future goldmine hub with an estimated 57% reserves of the country’s primary gold ore. But being in Naxalite held terrain, government agencies are finding it difficult to research the prospects further.
Bihar’s estimated gold reserve is the highest, followed by Karnataka and Rajasthan, 17% each, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh 3% and Madhya Pradesh with 2%, as per a recent assessment made by the Geological Survey of India (GSI).
However, in terms of metal content Karnataka remains on top followed by Rajasthan, West Bengal, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. India currently mines 0.4% of its gold despite having 9% of global gold reserves.
As per the national mineral inventory prepared by Indian bureau of mines a few years ago, the total reserves of gold ore in the country is placed at 19.25 million tonnes, containing 85.12 tonnes of primary gold metal.
The gold deposit surveyed by geological survey of India (GSI) in Bihar was found in Gaya, Rajgir (Nalanda) and Jamui districts.
But the authorities are tightlipped about the quantity and commercial viability. K B Khalkho, director, GSI, Bihar said field, experiments and chemical tests of gold were continuing and it would take some time, maybe a few years, before anything could be said definitively.
Jaya Lal, director, technical coordination, GSI, Patna, admitted to having located volcano sedimentary sequences in Bathani volcano-sediment in juxtaposition with Munger-Rajgir meta-sediments in Gaya district.
They were a positive sign for gold mineralisation.
As for the gold investigation in Gosari-Ghutwe block of Sono area in Jamui district, he said the process was still on and was promising. “The gold investigation is still at its initial stages. We can say anything only after sub-surface investigation”, he added.
Khalkho informed, that the GSI was also carrying out investigation for copper, lead and zinc in the forested rocky hills of the state, which includes, Gaya, Aurangabad, Jamui, Nawada, Rohtas and Munger districts.
He claimed, “We never know where extremists have planted mines. We have to be very cautious in our approach. Only last year extremists had kidnapped a GSI officer in Giridih (Jharkhand) and kept him in custody for a day. If we take along the police, extremist attacks would only grow”.