New Delhi :Gold deposits of around 3000 tonnes and worth nearly Rs 12 lakh crore have been found in Maoist-hit Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh.
The data by the World Gold Council shows India currently has 626 tonnes of gold reserves. The new reserves are almost five times that amount and estimated to be worth nearly Rs 12 lakh crore.
Officers of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) said on Friday that the gold deposits were found in Son Pahadi and Hardi areas of Sonbhadra.
District mining officer KK Rai said while speaking to news agency PTI that GSI had been looking for the gold reserves in Sonbhadra almost two decades ago in 1992-93.
Rai also said the state government has expedited the process of leasing these mines. The process of geo-tagging has been started before the auction process for mining. E-tendering will be done as soon as the demarcation work is completed.
The official, according to Press Trust of India, said the deposits in Son Pahadi is estimated to be around of 2,943.26 tonnes and that at Hardi block is around 646.16 kilogram.
Besides gold, some other minerals have also been found in the area, Rai added.
News agency IANS reported a seven-member team has been formed for geo-tagging of mineral sites and that their report will be submitted to the department of mining, Lucknow by February 22.
Rai said, according to IANS, an assessment is being done to see how much land comes under the revenue and forest departments so that the process of seeking permission from the forest department for mining can begin.
GSI is conducting an aerial survey of the quarry area for which two helicopters have been deployed.
A geophysical survey using electromagnetic and spectrometer devices is underway by helicopter in many parts of the district.
Part of these instruments hangs under the helicopter which conducts a flying survey at an altitude of 60-80 meters above the ground surface.
The British reportedly were the first to initiate the process of finding gold reserves in Sonbhadra region.
Sonbhadra—the second largest district of Uttar Pradesh—is the only district in the country which shares borders with four states. It has Madhya Pradesh to the west, Chhattisgarh to the south, Jharkhand to the south-east and Bihar to the east.