ANANTAPUR: Ramagiri gold mines locked out two decades ago due to recurring losses may soon see excavation activities as Government of India has invited tenders from private companies for 10 blocks of gold mines in Ramagiri of Anantapur district and Roddam mandal of Satya Sai district. The tenders are likely to be finalised by end of August.
Amendment to the Mining Act in 2015 after extensive consultations with states, mining companies and private sector has led to restarting of excavation in 13 gold mines – three in Uttar Pradesh and 10 in Andhra Pradesh, including Ramagiri gold mines.
Ramagiri RP block comprises 13-km-long Ramagiri Gold Field (RGF), which witnessed intense underground mining by the British. The main tract produced 1,76,338 ounces of gold, with recovery grade of 15 g/t from high-grade veins from 1910 to 1927.
Until April 2001, Government of India-owned Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML) operated the underground Yeppamana Mine in the RGF. However, the mines closed soon thereafter, following loss due to more expenses than returns.
Post that, the 2015 decision of GoI to encourage private players has resulted in inviting tenders for 10 blocks in Ramagiri mandal of Anantapur district and Bokkkasmapalle in Roddam mandal of Satya Sai district.
Recently, US-based gold prospecting and refining multi-national company Manhatten also conducted a survey to examine feasibility of excavation in Ramagiri area.
Official sources say of 10 blocks for which global tenders have been invited, a decision of five of them will be finalised in the first phase by August end.
Exploration undertaken to date in Ramagiri Gold Mines has indicated good prospects in southern and western parts of the mine belt. On basis of 613 geo-chemical samples, including stream sediments, rock-chips, soil and channel rock-chips, three blocks have been identified as worthy of detailed exploration by drilling. These are Ramagiri Gold Field (RGF) block of 20 sq km, Bokkkasmapalle block of 17 sq km and Ramagiri west block of 18 sq km.
Rapthadu MLA T. Prakash Reddy had also submitted a series of representations to state and central governments for reopening of the mines, as they provide direct and indirect employment to thousands of skilled and unskilled labour in the area....