Raipur - The first-ever auction of a gold mine in the country was held in Chhattisgarh on Sunday. Vedanta Ltd won the auction for Baghmara (Sonakhan) gold mine with its highest bid of 12.55 percent of IBM (Indian Bureau of Mining) price of Rs 74,712/ troy ounce (1 troy ounce = 31.10 gram), official sources said.
The production from the Baghmara mine can reduce the gold imports into the country that cost it $36 billion last year, the state mines department officials said.
This was the first time a composite license for gold mining was given in the country, officials added.
The mine is situated in Balodabazaar-Bhatapara district of Chhattisgarh, 130 km north-east of the state capital Raipur.
Vedanta, a unit of London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc, beat three other bidders in the auction of the Baghmara mine in Chhattisgarh, said the head of the state's Directorate of Geology and Mining, Reena Kangale, adding she expected mining for potential reserves of about 2,700 kilograms to begin in two years.
A troy ounce is equivalent of 31.10 grams.
In a statement, Vedanta said the block measuring 6.08 square kilometres required extensive exploration and that the process will commence in "due course".
India's insatiable appetite for gold has already prompted the government to raise import duties and launch a scheme aimed at mobilising a pool of over 20,000 tonnes of the metal lying idle in homes and temples.
Still the government has failed to curb imports by the world's second-biggest consumer, where gold is regarded as the highest form of gift for gods and humans alike.
The absence of local production has scuppered efforts further.
Federal Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar last week told Reuters the government planned to auction at least three gold mines in 2016.
With Agency inputs