Vedanta Resources, the natural resources conglomerate, is now eyeing expanding its footprints into gold mining and looking at bidding for now closed Bharat Gold Mines Ltd (BGML), which owns famous Kolar gold mines in Karnataka.
Vedanta Chairman Anil Agarwal said that the government should begin the process of selling the assets of Bharat Gold Mines Ltd"as quickly as possible" as the Supreme Court has already approved the asset sale plan.
"Supreme Court has given order to the Mines Ministry, they should do it as quickly as possible. Foreign investors should come to India. Instead of importing gold, we should be producing. If anything comes, we should look at this opportunity," he said.
When asked whether he will bid for Bharat Gold Mines Ltd assets, he said, "I am in that business... We will definitely do the due diligence, it will depend on the right price, right due diligence. If some body outbids us, then it will go to them but certainly we will look at it."
Kolar gold mineswere once considered one of the largest gold fields in India and mining here used to happen for centuries. It was nationalised in 1956 and in 1972, its operations were handed over to BGML.
However, it was closed in 2001 due to mounting losses and depleting reserves, rendering over 3,000 employees jobless. The Bharat Gold Mines Ltd employees, opposed to closure, had challenged it in various courts.
In June, the Supreme Court had approved government's plan of floating a global tender for selling the assets of Bharat Gold Mines Ltd, so that the Kolar gold mines can be restarted.
During the Monsoon session of Parliament, the government had told Lok Sabha that it is planning to float a global tender for selling assets of the Bharat Gold Mines Ltd but did not give any timeline and other details related to the proposed tender.
Few days back, the Mines Ministry -- the parent ministry of Bharat Gold Mines Ltd -- had invited bids for appointing consultants for selling the Bharat Gold Mines Ltd assets. The bids have to be submitted by October 9.
The consultant's tasks include preparing documents like request for proposal and memorandum of understanding, determining reserve price for the sell, and selection of successful bidders, among other things.
Currently, India has only three producing gold mines -- Hutti, Uti and Hirabuddini mines and the domestic production has almost stagnated at about