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New Discoveries to Bring Golden Touch to India’s Growth Story?

gold reserves in Sonbhadra

Update: Geological Survey of India has clarified that the earlier estimate made by the local officials are not right and only 160 KG of gold reserves estimated.


Paulo Coelho had famously written in The Alchemist that if you want anything to happen desperately, the entire universe conspires to make it happen.  As India is committed to achieve the $5 trillion dollar economy, some happenings are perhaps indicating that the force is with India. Some discoveries of natural resources under the ground have instilled an added confidence for India’s journey towards growth.

India Found Gold?

Recent reports have stated that the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has estimated the presence of 3,000 tonne gold reserves in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district. If these estimations hold true, that will make India the second largest owner of gold reserve after USA, which has about 8,000 tonnes of gold reserve.

India’s present gold reserve stands at 618 tonnes, and this new estimation raises it by five times, raising the worth to ₹12 lakh crore.

MoneyControl has reported that “apart from gold, officials are exploring the possibility of unearthing rare minerals like uranium in the area. The discovery of the two mines is expected to give a considerable boost to the state’s revenue. Not only will it provide skilled and unskilled labour, but could lead to much-needed development of backward regions in the two districts.”

Lithium Discovered

As India is putting its best effort to shift to electric modes of transport which is a much needed environment friendly approach of the future, reserves of lithium, a rare metal critical to build batteries for electric vehicles, have been discovered in Mandya, 100 km from Bengaluru a few days ago.

Even though this estimated reserve that stands at 14,100 tonnes is much smaller compared to other big reserves across the globe, the fact that India is yet to make a comprehensive effort to map lithium reserve has kept the hope open.

Developments Regarding Thorium

India has sufficient reserves of thorium. In a Lok Sabha reply on June 2019, Indian government has said that the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) has planned the use of large deposits of Thorium available in the country as a long-term option.

It is not possible to build a nuclear reactor using Thorium (Thorium-232) alone. Thorium has to be converted to Uranium-233 in a reactor before it can be used as fuel.

In preparation for the utilisation of Thorium in Third Stage of India’s Nuclear Power Programme, efforts towards technology development and demonstration are made now so that a mature technology for Thorium utilisation is available in time.

Adding to these developments, explorations of oil reserves in India has also seen an impetus. The state owned ONGC discovered 230 million tonnes of oil reserves in 3 years till 2019.

In 2016, the government had approved the Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP), that enabled the contractor to explore conventional as well as unconventional oil and gas resources including coal-bed methane, shale gas/oil, tight gas and gas hydrates under a single license.

Besides all these, in 2016 GSI had launched National Aero-geophysical Mapping Programme to cover 27 lakh line km of Obvious Geological Potential and adjoining area in the country, outcome of which is yet to be known. The study may bring some good news of new discoveries.