The Geological Survey of India has discovered gold deposits of around 3,000 tonnes in Uttar Pradesh’s Sonbhadra district – almost five times India’s current reserve, PTI reported on Friday. The deposits – worth Rs 12 lakh crore – were found in the district’s Son Pahadi and Hardi areas, said district Mining Officer KK Rai.

The work on finding gold in Sonbhadra started in 1992-’93, Rai said. The deposits in Son Pahadi is estimated to be around 2,943.26 tonnes, while the one at Hardi is around 646.16 kg. If these estimates turn out to be true, India will have the highest gold reserve after the United States. According to the World Gold Council, the US has 8,133.5 tonnes of gold, followed by Germany with 3,366 tonnes, and the International Monetary Fund with 2,814 tonnes.

The geology and mining department of the state government has sent a team to the district to map and geo-tag the area. The exercise is expected to be completed by Saturday, The Times of India reported. “After the completion of mapping, we will submit the report to the directorate for further action, like auctioning of gold blocks for mining,” Rai told the newspaper.

District Magistrate S Rajalingam said the geological survey and the directorate of geology and mining had sought permission to survey the area. “The team will submit the report to the directorate for further action,” he added.

Corrections and clarifications: The Geological Survey of India on Saturday denied these reports and said the organisation has not estimated such a vast resource of gold deposits in Sonbhadra.

Also read:

UP gold discovery claims denied by Geological Survey of India