Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 24 :
With the prices of the yellow metal soaring, this appears to be a golden opportunity for Kerala to bring in the much needed revenue if it takes forward efforts to obtain environemtal clearances for mining in the potential gold bearing zones in the tribal heartland of Attapadi and Nilambur, an official said.
Chief Minister Oomen Chandy agree, telling IANS: “I will certainly make efforts to study the issue and look into this matter.”
“If there is a clearance from the environment ministry, further exploration will take about three to five years and with the latest technology available we can easily find out the exact extent reserves of gold in these areas,” the Geological Survey of India (GSI) official added.
“Since the reserves are in dense forests areas can further exploration be done only if there is a clearance from the environment ministry. The last time when something happened was in 2006 and after that nothing has moved,” the GSI official said.
Attapadi in Palakkad is home to large number of tribes, while Nilambur is in Malappuram.
With GSI estimating Kerala’s reserves – with a gold content of 13.88 grammes per tonne of ore – to be worth millions of rupees, “this is going to be a huge boost to the cash strapped Kerala economy. The state is expected to get a minimum royalty of 12 percent”, another official said.