Vijayawada: Work on independent India’s first integrated Greenfield gold mining project in Andhra Pradesh is expected to begin in the next two months.
The project proponent— an Indo-Australian company — is in the process of completing land acquisition in Jonnagiri of Kurnool district. Commercial production is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2020.
The project proponent has also completed exploration and feasibility studies with the highest international standards and is satisfied with the viability of the project.
The only gold mines in the country in Karnataka at Kolar Gold Fields and Hutti were opened in the British era. No gold mining was carried out after Independence.
While the initial production of the Jonnagiri facility is 750 kg of gold per annum, there are plans to ramp it up to one tonne in the coming days.
The preliminary exploration of the site and applying for the statutory clearances for the project had begun in 2005.
Since then it had been a long-drawn procedure for the project proponents to obtain mining leases and also complete the environmental public hearing as they are getting ready to ground the project.
Although the project needed 1,500 acres of land, the company decided to go for the outright purchase of 350 acres where the core mining would take place and the remaining 1,150 acres would be taken on a long lease.
“We have already obtained mining leases and all the statutory clearances to do gold mining in the Jonnagiri belt. Negotiations with the farmers have also been completed and land acquisition has also begun. Within two months, the land acquisition will be completed and physical works on the Greenfield integrated facility will begin. We are all set for that. The facility will be ready within 15 months. We plan to begin production by the third quarter of 2020. Simultaneously exploration will take place in the remaining 1,150 acres. The project cost is pegged at `300 crore,” Australian Indian Resources Ltd (AIRL), managing director and chief executify officer M. Hanuma Prasad told this newspaper.