The Archeological Survey of India, which has zeroed in on as many as 53 sites with potential gold reserves. The sites are spread across Karnataka, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Kerala, according to Data Portal India.
Currently, gold mining is carried out at a single location in India - Hutti in Karnataka, as well as its two satellite mines Hira-Buddini and Uti - all belonging to Hutti Gold Mines Ltd.
A Lok Sabha document dated August 2012 showed different exploration agencies had already started work on retrieving the gold in Jharkhand, Karnataka and Rajasthan.
The outcome of the exploration shows after Karnataka, Jharkhand could be the new treasure trove. In 2009-19, it was inferred the Sindauri East block in Ranchi had gold ore resources of 3.10 million tonnes. And, bigger gold reserves were indicated at the Parasi central block, with estimated reserves of around 11 million tonnes.
In 2012-13, the Geological Survey of India had undertaken exploration programmes in Sonabhadra district of Uttar Pradesh, as well as a few other districts in Bihar, Kerala, Odisha, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
According to the report of a working group on mineral exploration and development for the 12th five-year Plan (2012-17), the total gold reserve base across 13 states in the country stood at 658 tonnes as on April 1, 2011. Of this, 167 tonnes were categorised as economically mineable reserves.
At 2.22 tonnes, India's contribution to the global mining production is insignificant. A major portion of the country's gold production comes as a by-product from anode slimes, which in turn are produced by smelting the copper concentrates indigenously produced in Jharkhand, as well as the copper concentrates imported by Hindalco.
In 2007-08, by-product gold stood at 12.1 tonnes. Together with the primary mine production, the total production of gold in India stood at 9.22 tonnes in 2010-11.
While the entry of private players in gold mining is expected to boost production, bureaucratic delays continue to pose hurdles. "The wait to get a licence for gold exploration is too long, between five and ten years. The licence regime in ridiculously slow," said Sandeep Lakhwara, managing director, Deccan Gold Mines. The company has been awaiting a mining lease for Ganajur in Karnataka. This could be India's first major private sector gold mining project.
India imported about 963 tons of gold during 2010.The projected imports at the growth rate of 11% from 2012-2017 are 9305 tons at an average of 1861 tons per year, according to Report on Working Group on Mineral Exploration and Development.
The total Gold production from mines in the world during the year 2,553 tons. The major producers are China, South Africa, Australia and USA.