Finally, there is a silver lining for the once famous Kolar gold mines in Karnataka.
In a landmark verdict, the Karnataka high court has asked the Indian government to take all steps to revive Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML) in Kolar Gold Fields (KGF). The court also said no global tenders should be floated for the revival.
The court stated that the KGF gold mines should not be handed over to any foreigner for revival. The court also said that the revival of the mines should not be entrusted to the workers' co-operative of the BGML.
Directing the government to explore all possibilities to revive the now defunct mines, the court said if needed, assistance and technical advice must be taken from mining experts.
The bench passed the order while hearing an appeal filed by the BGML challenging a single-judge bench order passed on July 3, 2009, stipulating that only global miners should participate in the revival of the mines.
The single judge order had also made it clear that only companies involved in gold mining should be considered, while providing technical help to the workers' co-operative could be examined.
The case arose after the BGML filed an application in the high court seeking permission to float a global tender to revive the mines. BGML wanted the tender to be opened to all mining companies and not merely gold mining firms.
The judges observed that in the wake of increasing prices of the yellow metal in the international market, it is time the government looks towards alternative methods to explore ore deposits. They also pointed out that floating global tenders to revive the mines will not be in the interest of the nation in general and miners in particular. The Union government should have a total relook into the whole issue and act in the interest of the miners, the judges opined