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Fund crunch hits Orissa’s gold exploration


Bhubaneswar : A fund crunch has impeded the exploration for gold in Orissa, an official said Thursday.

Surveys conducted in the early eighties by central and state agencies had found gold reserves in 18 places in the state but the quantity of gold in these reserves was not revealed, the official said.

"It requires many more studies to know the exact quantity of the reserve and for that we don't have funds," joint director of the state geology department J.R. Patnaik told IANS.

"We also require technology to carry out further studies," he said.

The directorate of geology, government of Orissa and the Survey of India under the central government conducted the surveys in the past.

The surveys had found gold in the districts of Mayurbhanj, Sundergarh, Koraput, Nabrangpur, Malkangiri, Angul and Boudh.

"Eight places such as Telkoi, Saleikana, Gopur, Gajaipur, Singhpur, Kusakala, Dimirimunda and Aradangi village in Keonjhar district have gold deposits in vein quartz," Patnaik said.

The other places where gold was traced included Suleipata, Suruda, Jashipur and Suriaguda in Mayurbhanj district, Digabarana in Sundergarh district, Basamantapur and Gobindapalli in Koraput district and Nabrangpur, he added.

Besides these, the Kolab river in Malkangiri district, the Tikira river in Angul district and Ramgarh in Boudh district also had gold reserves, Patnaik said.

The surveys were carried out more or less on the surface. Gold in crystallised form like amphibolites and schistose were found during these surveys.

"But the state lacks the technology and adequate funds to go deep in search of gold as the process is very expensive," Patnaik said.

At least 18 private companies had submitted applications to the state government for licenses to reconnaissance the gold mines but they are still awaiting approval. Some applications were also received in the early eighties, Patnaik said.

Orissa is a treasure trove of natural resources. The state has about 97 percent of the chromite, 71 percent of bauxite, 33 percent of iron and 32 percent of manganese available in India.