NO ELDORADO .. GSI rejects claim of Sonabhadra mining official about "huge gold deposit" in UP

UPDATE: The Geological Survey of India (GSI), headquartered in Kolkata, rejected a claim made by a mining official in Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh that huge gold deposites were hit upon at two areas in the district. The official, KK Rai, had said nearly 3,000 tonnes of gold deposit existed in one of these sites while the other site had an estimated deposit of over 600 tonnes. The GSI director general M Sridhar clarified on Saturday that only a small quantity of gold deposits could be located there, which could be in the range of over 160kg or so. –IHN-NN

NEW DELHI: A large gold reserve has been hit upon in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonabhadra district by the Geological Survey of India. Tests were ongoing in the region for the past over 20 years, and the finding was officially confirmed this week. The area was known to have gold deposits of small levels during the time of the British Raj itself, and the name of the place derived from such a belief.

As per information given out by officials, the gold reserves in Sonabhadra could be, once explored, more than two times India’s present possession of gold by individuals at their homes or bank lockers –25,000 tonne, and the deposits now found could be worth Rs 12 lakh crore as per present market value.

The estimated gold reserves are estimated to be of  52,806 tonne in Sona Pahadi and Haldi Pahadi villages in the district. Sona Pahadi name itself means gold mountain. The areas are set between Vindhyachal and Kaimur hills, in the southern part of Uttar Pradesh, which borders MP, Bihar, Jharkhand.

The area is also energy-rich because of the presence of several thermal power stations run with coal. Also, in the adjoining Tamba region in Madhya Pradesh, there are indications of presence of huge copper deposits. The UP area is also believed to have heavy diamond deposits, a finding to which effect had been made in the 1970s by the GSI, but there was no follow-up action. The white stones there, atop hills, which reflected sun light, however keep disappearing. Apparently, private parties are exploiting them with tacit support from local officials. Also, activities were high in the name of mining iron ore, with help of local tribals, which are transported to Kolkata by boat. Locals are now raising suspicion over such happenings going on for long. 

India had some gold deposits in Colar mines in Karnataka, but there is little of mining there now. The nation depends entirely on imports as regards its people’s gold requirements. Gold is heavily purchased for marriage purpose. The present imports are in the range of 800 tonne a year or of over $ 34 billion. India is the world’s largest consumer of gold.

China, Australia, Russia and the US are world leaders in gold mining; China having 400 tonnes per year, Australia having 300 tonnes, Russia almost the same  and USA over 200 tonnes of production. In terms of mines strength, South Africa and the US have two each largest gold mines. 


India’s vast potential in mineral wealth remains largely untapped. Only about 13% of India’s 575,000 square kilometers of land with geological potential has been explored in detail, says Indian Mineral Federation. In the beginning of the 20th Century, India was the six largest producer of gold. India hardly produces any gold now, other than smelting copper to make gold, as per one report.

China, set on an economic overdrive in the past two decades, laid emphasis on mineral explorations, and this saw a four-fold rise in gold production, among other gains vis-a-vis minerals.  –IHN-NN


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