IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


25th June, 2024 Geography


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Picture Courtesy: https://india.mongabay.com/2020/09/kolar-gold-fields-from-fields-of-gold-to-dust-bowl/

Context: The decision to revive gold mining at KGF aims to tap into the region's potential for economic revitalization, job creation, and resource utilisation in Karnataka


  • The recent decision by the Karnataka government to clear the Centre's proposal for reviving gold mining at Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) marks a significant step towards utilising the resources of this historic mining region.

Background of Kolar Gold Fields (KGF)

  • Kolar Gold Fields, located in the state of Karnataka, has a rich history of gold mining dating back to over a century.
  • It was one of the major gold mining centers in India until operations ceased in 2001 due to economic reasons.
  • The mines were owned and operated by Bharat Gold Mines Ltd. (BGML), a public sector undertaking (PSU) established in 1972 under the Department of Mines.

Proposal and Decision

  • Revival of Gold Mining: The Centre, under the provisions of Column 17 of the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act, 1957, proposed to revive gold mining at KGF. This includes the auctioning of 13 tailing dumps spread over 1003.4 acres. Tailing dumps are accumulated waste materials left behind after the extraction of gold ore.
  • State Approval: The Karnataka government, in a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, approved the Centre's proposal. This step was crucial as it involved granting consent under the MMDR Act, which is necessary for carrying out mining activities.
  • Economic Viability: BGML had become economically unviable leading to its closure in 2001 following a directive from the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction. The revival plan aims to leverage modern mining techniques to extract gold from the existing tailing dumps, which are estimated to contain approximately 33 million tonnes of material. It is projected that one tonne of these dumps could yield around one gram of gold upon processing.
  • Employment Generation: Reviving gold mining at KGF is expected to generate employment opportunities for local residents, thereby contributing to the economic development of the region. Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs H.K. Patil highlighted the potential job creation as a significant benefit of this initiative.

Recent Developments

  • Exploration and Survey: In 2020, the Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd. (MECL), an entity under the Centre, began exploration activities on BGML lands to identify mineral-rich areas. This was part of a broader plan to assess the potential for both mining activities and the development of an industrial park spread over 3,000 acres.
  • Government Support: Both the Central and State governments have shown support for this initiative, with efforts to streamline regulatory approvals and facilitate the development of necessary infrastructure for mining and related industrial activities.

Way forward

  • Environmental and Technological Considerations: The revival of gold mining at KGF will need to follow strict environmental standards and employ modern technologies to mitigate any potential impacts on the environment and local communities.
  • Economic Impact: The economic impact of reviving mining operations at KGF could be substantial, not only through direct revenues from gold extraction but also through indirect benefits such as infrastructure development, increased employment, and local business opportunities.
  • Legal and Administrative Framework: The project will proceed under the regulatory framework provided by the MMDR Act and other relevant laws governing mining activities in India. Clearances and permissions from environmental authorities will also be essential.



  • The decision to revive gold mining at KGF represents a strategic effort to harness the untapped potential of this historic mining region. It highlights efforts towards economic revitalization, job creation, and the sustainable utilization of natural resources in Karnataka. However, careful planning and execution will be crucial to ensure that environmental and social considerations are effectively addressed alongside economic goals.


The Hindu


Q. Mining projects can bring economic opportunities to local communities, but they can also displace residents and disrupt traditional ways of life.  Develop a framework for ensuring equitable decision-making processes around mining projects in India.