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Hutti Gold Mines, owned by the Karnataka government, currently extracts around 1,400-1600 kgs of gold a year from the nearly 5.4-5.8 lakh tonnes of ore in the region. Hatti is situated in Raichur District, Karnataka State and is 80 km (50 miles) due west of Raichur, which is also the nearest railway station.
The company was originally formed in 1947 as the Hyderabad Gold mines Company Ltd., with the Hyderabad State Government holding a majority of the shares. After the end of the war, the scheme was resumed and production started in September 1948, at the rate of 130 tonnes of ore per day. After the reorganization of the states in 1956 the mine’s ownership also got transferred to the then Mysore Government. The company was renamed to its current name as Hutti Gold Mines Company Limited.
The company is setting up new shafts and ball mills that would help increase gold extraction. The firm has invested Rs 420 crore for its expansion plans.
History of Hutti gold mine
Hutti Maski Greenstone belt is one of the most important Archaean gold bearing belts in India. The Auriferous tracts of Hutti greenstone belt are remarkably similar to the classic Archaean Superior Craton in Canada, the Yilgarn Craton in Western Australia and the Kolar greenstone belt in India. The Hutti-Maski belt hosts a world class Hutti Gold deposit that is presently mined by The Hutti Gold Mines Limited. Gold mining activity in the belt has been known since pre-Ashokan time, about 3000 years ago. Modern gold mining commenced in the Hutti area around 1947.
The Hutti Gold Mine has so far produced about 2 million ounces while remaining ore reserves are believed to be 9.25 million tonnes of ore grading 5.62g/t up to 841 metres depth.
Exploration was carried out under two Reconnaissance exploration Licenses (RPs) covering a total area 851 sq. km of the most prospective part of the Hutti belt.
The Hutti mine is probably one of the most ancient metal mines in the world, dating to the Pre-Ashokan period. The ancient miners worked down to depths between 35m and 190m. The later which was intersected in 640 ft. level workings of the main mine in the 1890s, being the deepest known ancient working in the world.
Evidence from the bottom of the ancient workings indicate that mine excavations by ancients were achieved by means of fire-setting. The carbon dating test of the old timber recovered from the bottom of ancient mine workings indicated that the ancient mining activity was about 1,900 years old. Indications are that only simple metallurgy viz., crushing, grinding and gravity separation for recovering gold was adopted by the ancients.
The industry subsequently declined and eventually disappeared between 500 and 600 A.D perhaps due to the break-up of slavery as a social institution. Re-discovery of the various gold fields in the Hutti belt by the Hyderabad (Deccan) Company took place in the closing years of last century after 1980 and a mine of considerable size was established at Hutti (then in Hyderabad State) between 1887 and 1920 when the Main Mine was developed by the Hutti Gold Mines Co., an offshoot of the Hyderabad (Deccan) Company and mined upto 1056m. depths recovering 7.40 tonnes of gold from about 0.38 million tonnes of ore at an average grade of 19.48 g/t. A little development work was also done during this period on Oakley, Village Reefs simultaneously.
The mines were closed during 1920 as permit development and areas had been worked out and insufficient funds did not permit development and discovery of new reefs or extension of reefs then being worked, apart from difficulties faced from World War I during this period.
Hutti North RP Block
DGML through its subsidiary DESPL explored an area of 501.48 sq.km in the Hutti North RP Block by means of modern methods of exploration.
This block is located immediately north of the currently operating Hutti Gold Mine. Eight parallel gold bearing quartz-sulphide veins known as Reefs or lodes are known to exist in the currently operating Hutti Mines. These lodes were interpreted to extend northwards into our exploration ground for about 2.0 km beyond the northern boundary of the Hutti mines.
Hutti South RP Block
Ancient gold workings dating back to Ashokan time dot a 20 km long tract in the South Hutti belt which is marked by a major N-S trending shear zone designated as the “Central Shear Zone (CSZ)”. The tract was explored by us under a Reconnaissance Permit.
The following targets have been chosen for intensive exploration based on highly encouraging gold values obtained during reconnaissance geological mapping and geochemical sampling which included analysis of 930 outcrop rock chip samples, 287 stream sediments and 389 bedrock samples. The exploration was successful in identifying four prospects worthy of detailed investigation, hence, these have been covered under PL applications which are in various stages of processing.
Detailed History of Hutti Gold Mine on Yearly Basis
1887 – Gold Mining was undertaken by Hyderabad (Deccan) Company for the Nizam of Hyderabad.
1880 – 1920 Modern mining took place by M/s. John Taylor’s and Sons. During the period between 1902 to 1918 only the Main Reef alone produced 3.8 lakhs tonnes of ore and yielded 7.41 tonnes of gold @ an average grade of 19.45 g/t. and was mined upto 1052 m. depth.
1920 – Mine closed down due to paucity of materials, funds, and also attributable to World War I.
1938 – Detailed exploration by geological & geophysical surveys, diamond drilling and dewatering of the Village Reef mine were conducted, which resulted in rediscovery of Zone – I and Oakley’s Reefs.
1947 – On 8th July 1947 ‘Hyderabad Gold Mines Company Limited’ was incorporated and the mining operations were entrusted to John Taylor & Sons by the Nizam of Hyderabad.
1956 – It was renamed as ‘The Hutti Gold Mines Company Limited’ (HGML) with the formation of Mysore State (now Karnataka) when the states were reorganized.
1966 – Indian Gold Control Act 1966 imposed severe restrictions on Gold trade and industry.
1971 – In its Silver Jubilee year, the capacity was tripled from 310 Tonnes per day (TPD) to 910 TPD.
1985 – The two loss-making Copper Units ‘Chitradurga Copper Company’ and ‘Karnataka Copper Consortium Limited’ at Kalyadi were amalgamated with HGML. Thus the company’s operations were extended to Copper mining and production of Copper Concentrate.
1992 – The Gold Control Act was repealed allowing free import of gold resulting in almost stabilization of Indian gold prices.
1996 – Introduction of Carbon-in-Pulp (CIP) technology in the Mill
1997 – In its ‘Golden Jubilee Year’, HGML undertook a comprehensive Modernization & Expansion programme to double its production by increasing capacity at Hutti and conversion of Copper unit to Gold unit at Chitradurga.
1998-99 & 2002 – Phase Wise Ball Mill addition
2002-04 – Introduction of large Agitators (11 m dia x 11.5 m height)
2005 – Improvement in the Sand stowing system, Detoxification plant, new high rate thickener and Carbon column
2005 – 10RP area exploration, Uti Gold Project and Hira-buddinni Gold Project development & expansion, Wind Mill expansion at CGU.
2010-12 SAG & Ball Mill of 100 TPH, IInd phase Mining.
2012 – MOU with Karnataka State Biofuel Development Board for establishing Biofuel Park.
2013 – The Mega Circular Shaft (6 m Dia, upto 940 m depth) sinking started on 25.01.2013.
2014-15 – 50TPD two Ball mill. Decline Mining in Hutti North block.
Basic facts on Hutti Gold Mine
- The mines are owned and operated by Hutti Gold Mines Limited.
- The ancient miners worked down to depths between 35 and 190 metres.
- According to archaeologists, the fire-setting technique was used in the ancient period to break down rocks in the mine, by alternating between heating and cooling.
- Grinding stones then crushed the ore to extract gold.
- A mixture of crushed ore and water was passed through goat’s skin to separate heavy gold particles from lighter impurities.
- During the 1880s, the Nizam of Hyderabad formally organized gold mining in the region, on behalf of Hyderabad (Deccan) Company.
- Between 1902 and 1918, 3.8 lakh tonnes of ore were mined and 7.41 tonnes of gold extracted.
- About 40 years later, in 1920, the mine had to be shut down due to scarcity of funds.
- Around 1937, the Nizam decided to re-explore mining prospects to promote employment.
- In 1947, mining was resumed by the Nizam under the Hyderabad Gold Mines Company Limited.
- After the reorganization of states in 1956, the ownership was transferred from Hyderabad to Karnataka (then known as Mysore) and the company was renamed ‘The Hutti Gold Mines Company Limited’ (HGML).
- In 2011, 12 HGML processed 5.66 lakh tonnes of ore and extracted about 2181 kg of gold.
- The mining has now reached a depth of 2600 ft, extracting about 1500 tonnes of ore a day and producing 7-8 kg of gold.
India’s only gold producer Hutti Gold Mines plans to double the annual production of gold to 3,500 kg by 2021, once it completes setting up the infrastructure to extract more ore from its mines at Raichur in Karnataka.
The three important projects are nearing completion. Once they are ready, we will be able to mine over 3,500 kgs of gold ore a year. The projects are expected to be ready by 2020-end. The firm has invested Rs 420 crore for its expansion plans. With these investments, the company expects to reduce the cost of gold production to less than Rs 2,500 per gram.
The company is setting up new shafts and ball mills that would help increase gold extraction.
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