Gold is a precious metal which is famous for its attractive glitter, high malleability and ductility. It is the most vital element in international banking and monetary system. Gold is mainly used for making ornaments and jewelers. Since pure gold is soft it is alloyed with a little of copper for making coinage and jewellery etc.
Gold occurs in India both as native gold, associated with quartz-veins of reefs, and as alluvial or detritus gold in the sands and gravels of some rivers. The principal source is the quartz-reefs of the Dharwar rocks.
The gold is associated with pyrite, pyrrhotite, arsenopyrite. The ore being hypothermal in origin. Gold is contained in the form of very fine disseminations in quartz and is occasionally accumulated in thin streaks, lenses and grains. The gold is obtained by crushing and milling the quartz, allowing the crushed ore mixed with water to run over mercury-plated copper boards.
Reserves and Production
The total gold metal ore reserves of India are estimated at 22.4 million lakh tones, with 1 16.50 tones of metal (India, 2005, p. 470). India’s production of gold is only 0.78 per cent of the world output. The gold production of South Africa is 60 times, of Canada 22 times and of Australia 5 times than that of India. India’s production of gold has been declining since the first decade of this century. In 1951 the production stood at 7,041 kg valued at Rs. 67.5 millions. The recent production (2002-03), showing some recovery, is just 43.3 per cent of the 1951 output of gold (Table I7.XXVI)
Assam-Gold washing has been carried on in the Subansiri, the Lohit, the Brahmaputra and other rivers in Lakhimpur, Darrang and Sibsagar districts.
Punjab-in the Beas River between Rai and Mirthal.
Madhya Pradesh-Chhattisgarh-Rivers of Bastar, Balaghat and Raigarh districts.
Uttar Pradesh-Ramganga and its tributarirs and Sona Nadi.
Himachal Pradesh-In the Satluj, Gomti and other rivers in Bilaspur, Kangra, Mandi, Kinnaur and Sirmaur districts.
Jammu and Kashmir-In the Dras, Shru and Indus rivers.
Orissa-from streams of Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Koraput, Mayurbhanj, and Sambalpur districts.
Andhra Pradesh-near the confluence of Kennersani River with Godavari in Khammam district and near Mangampet in Warangal district.
Karnataka-in Bellary, Belgaum, Chitradurg, Dharwad, Mandya and Shimoga districts.
Rajasthan-some gold is also obtained from the Dariba mines in Udaipur district and at Khetri from copper beneficiation plant.
Consumption and Trade
Production of gold is not sufficient to meet the country’s demand. The production from the Kolar Gold Fields is sold to the Reserve Bank of India while from the Hutti mines are released for industrial use through the State Bank of India. Since there is huge demand of gold for the manufacture of ornaments and jewellery, India imports gold from Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Germany, Belgium and Hongkong.