A fictional battle for gold in Karnataka’s Kolar mines delivered the hit action franchise KGF which has minted Rs 1,500 crore on the box offfice with two installments. Mining at the real Kolar Gold Fields, which inspired the movie helmed by Kannada star Yash, was started in the late 19th century. The mine which was shut down in 2001 for causing environmental hazards, is reportedly being revived by the government hoping to strike gold at the legendary site.
New tech to retrieve forgotten treasure
Media reports suggest that the government seeks to unlock gold reserves worth $2.1 billion left at the mine located 65 kilometres away from Bengaluru. New tech which can extract gold and paladium from the leftover ore at the mine dormant for more than two decades, has prompted the government to restart operations. The government might invite bids from foreign companies with the required technology to monetise processed ore, in the next six months.
Satiating appetite for yellow metal
Overseas players can partner with local firms, to place their bids for extracting the precious yellow metal from the mine which has delivered box office collections even when it was dormant. The production can help satiate India’s rising appetite for gold, which went up 14 per cent in September, while the country raised import duty on the metal to fill the trade deficit. The Indian government has also tried to convince people to deposit their jewellery in banks and temples to provide gold, as part of its monetisation scheme.
History behind the legend
The Kolar Gold Fields got a nod from the British government in 1887, and by 1900 it the region received electricity before Bangalore and Mysore because of requirement of technology at the mine. By 1902 the British had squeezed out 95 per cent of its gold, and started leaving shortly afterwards. The Kolar gold mines also saw a 21-day general strike in 1930, when 16,000 miners stood up against oppressive working conditions.
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