Kolar Gold Mines

The Kolar Gold Fields is located 27 Kms away from Kolar. The K.G.F. City is entirely a creation of the Gold mining industry. The Champion mine is the deepest mine in the world. The BEML, recently established at this place by the Union Government as a large scale industry for the manufacture of Earth moving Equipments and Crawler tractors.

Gold was first mined in the area in the 2nd and 3rd century AD by the digging of small pits. During the Chola period in the 9th and 10th century AD the scale of the operation grew, but large-scale mining only came in the 1850s under the British with more manpower and sophisticated machinery. In 1873, M.F. Lavelle, a resident in Bangalore, applied to the Mysore Government for the exclusive privilege of mining in the Kolar district. His request was granted and he commenced operations by sinking a shaft near Urigam (Oorgaum) in 1875, but, finding that large capital would be required he, in the following year and with the approval of the government, transferred all his rights and concessions to the late Major General G. de la Poer Beresford. Major General Beresford formed a syndicate known as the Kolar Concessionaries (now merged into the Gold Fields of Mysore Co.) which took up the matter in earnest, and gradually acquired the area known as the Kolar Gold Fields.
The tradition of mining gold at Kolar started at least as early as the first millennium BC with linkages to the Indus Valley civilization. Golden objects found in Harappa and Mohenjo-daro have been traced to KGF through an impurities-analysis assay, as the impurities include 11% silver concentration, found only in KGF ore. The Champion reef at the Kolar gold fields was mined to a depth of 50 meters during the Gupta period in the fifth century A.D. Subsequently, the metal continued to be mined during the Chola period in the 9th and 10th century AD, the Vijayanagara Empire from 1336 to 1565, and later by Tipu Sultan, the leader of Mysore state. The scale of the operations grew at each stage by the digging of small to large pits.[citation needed] Renewed interest in the Kolar gold fields occurred towards the beginning of the nineteenth century. The ancient gold workings, other workings which may have been 200 to 600 years old and the workings of Tipu Sultan were all located by Captain Warren in 1802. In 1873, M.F. Lavelle, a resident in Bangalore, applied to the Mysore Government for the exclusive privilege of mining in the Kolar district. His request was granted and he commenced operations by sinking a shaft near Uirgam (Oorgaum) in 1875, but, finding that large capital would be required, in the following year and with the approval of the government, Lavalle transferred all his rights and concessions to Major General G. de la Poer Beresford. General Beresford formed a syndicate known as the Kolar Concessionaries which took up the matter in earnest, and gradually acquired most of the area now known as the Kolar Gold Fields. However, large-scale mining only came in the 1850s under the British firm John Taylor & Company which did much of the prospecting and mining with more skilled manpower and sophisticated machinery.

The principal mines in the Gold Fields starting with Michael F. Lavelle in 1864 to the mines developed by John Taylor & Company up to 1905 were:

Later, after 1956, BGML amalgamated the Champion and Mysore mines and started the Yeppamana and Old Baisanathan Mines.

The mines were taken over by the Government of Mysore in 1956 and by the Ministry of Finance, Government of India in 1962. They were handed over to the government company called Bharat Gold Mines Limited under the Ministry of Mines in 1972. The Bharat Gold Mines Limited has thus come out of various combinations and permutations. The company has the record of having Morarji Desai as its chairman (when it was with the Finance Ministry) and some of the erstwhile chief Ministers of Mysore State (when it was with the government of Mysore).