Kolkata: Public sector firm Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL) said on 10 August it plans to venture into gold exploration in partnership with foreign companies and would invest Rs1,800 crore in the next five years.
“There are gold belts in Karnataka, besides in some pockets of Rajasthan and Jharkhand, which can be explored,” HCL’s chairman and managing director Satish C Gupta said here.
The investment plan of Rs1,800 crore includes revival of old and closed mines, besides taking up new fields, he said.
“Demand for gold is on the rise in India which imports the metal mainly from South Africa,” he said.
“We would like to enter gold mining and since Hindustan Copper has no gold mine of its own, it would prefer to take help from experts and foreign companies to strike gold in partnership,” he said, adding that the firm would soon apply for prospecting licence to the government.
The company has shortlisted two Australian and two Canadian firms for setting up joint ventures by next year, he said.
About its bid to reopen closed mines, he said, the company would start work in Surda mine in Jharkhand and has already forged ties with Monarch gold mine of Australia for contract mining.
Hindustan Copper has earned cumulative profit after tax of Rs476 crore from 2004-05 to 2006-07.
The company had earlier incurred losses for eight years, which eroded its capital base to a considerable extent.
“The recovery in the last three years has been made possible by corrective internal measures duly supported by buoyancy in the global prices of copper,” he said.