India would mine more gold, import less


From Press Trust of India
via The Economic Times, Gurgaon
Tuesday, July 10, 2007

NEW DELHI -- Concerned over huge import bills for gold, the government has asked domestic miners to explore tie-ups with their foreign counterparts to intensify exploration for the metal in the country.

"The country imports about 800 tonnes of gold worth Rs 55,000 crore every year only because we have not adequately explored our reserves," Minister of State for Mines T Subbarami Reddy told the media.

"The miners say explorations are big-budget exercises involving substantial risk capital. If that is so, they should explore tie-ups with their foreign counterparts and engage in more exploration," he said.

He said that miners would have to invest risk capital for fresh explorations and the mining community should contribute Rs 1,50,000 crore to the country's GDP every year.

Reddy pointed out that the nation has gold reserves worth Rs 6,00,000 crore and diamonds to the tune of 475 million tonnes.

He said the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries should play a crucial role to facilitate investment in the mining sector. "Within the next five years, we expect the country to invest about Rs 5,00,000 crore in the mining sector," Reddy said.

The minister said FIMI must utilise the expertise of Geological Survey of India and the Indian Bureau of Mines in a big way to go in for fresh explorations.

"The Group of Ministers also discussed the issue of increasing investment in the mining sector, and its suggestions would be reflected in the coming mining policy," he said.

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