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Hutti Gold Mines to upgrade milling plant

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THE state-owned Hutti Gold Mines has posted some glittering profits this year and is embarking on modernisation and expansion of its milling plant.

Global tenders are being floated for installing a new plant with a milling capacity of 2,100 tonnes per day (tpd) on a turnkey basis over the next two years, according to HGML Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Mr K.L. Negi. The actual milling capacity at present is around 1,200 tpd, against an installed capacity of 1,600 tpd.

The company has wiped out accumulated losses of Rs 30 crore made during 1995-2000 and posted a profit of Rs 19 crore for the nine months ended December 31, 2001.

HGML remains the sole gold producer in the country since the closure of the Central Government-owned Bharat Gold Mines at Kolar Gold Fields. After the new plant is commissioned, its annual gold output is expected to increase to 4,000 kg, up from the 2,500 kg anticipated during the current year.

The mine depth will also be developed from 760 m to 1,000 m over the next five years.

For the year 2002-03, HGML's gold output was projected to increase to 3,500 kg or a value of Rs 150 crore, Mr Negi told a news conference here.

The surplus funds would be used for meeting the expenses on the Rs 21-crore VRS package introduced for 719 employees. Of this, the company has paid Rs 12.58 crore to 529 employees.

Mr Negi said the company had proven gold ore reserves of around 31.02 million tonnes which can yield 150.4 tonnes of gold. The satellite mines at Uti and Hirabuddinni are estimated to have reserves yielding 1.11 tonnes and 15.59 tonnes of gold respectively. The reserves could last for the next 60 years up to the depth of 3,000 metres.

Joins WGC

HGML has become the first Indian and 40th member of the World Gold Council, the WGC Secretary and Director, International Services, Mr Trevor Greenwood, announced on Wednesday. The London-based council is a network of gold producers and the official membership will enable HGML to access modern gold mining technologies, according to Mr Negi.

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