Saturday, 19 April 2014

HN: Foreign demand for Czech gold revived

ČTK |
29 November 2012

Prague, Nov 28 (CTK) - Czech gold deposits estimated at 400 tonnes worth over 400 billion crowns again attract foreign firms, mainly to central Bohemia and the vicinity of Kasperske Hory in the Sumava National Park (NPS), Hospodarske noviny (HN) writes in its financial supplement yesterday.

Czech gold constitutes about 1 percent of the world's gold deposits, HN writes.

It says five firms have applied for permits to prospect for gold in six areas.

"Gold mining has a tradition in the Czech Lands. It would bring a lot of money to the state as well," HN quotes Petr Moravek, executive of Delta Bohemia who participated in gold prospecting in the country in the 1970s and 1980s, as saying.

But he admitted that the mining companies will face the opposition of a majority of the municipalities concerned.

This is not for the first time that attempts to resume gold mining that ended in 1994 are made, HN writes.

It says Kasperske Hory, for instance, has experienced several attempts, but no one has eventually succeeded, HN writes.

Now, however, the interested firms may have some chance due to a fundamental change that is part of a prepared new raw material policy, HN writes.

It says the formulation that "gold deposits should be preserved for the future generation" has been deleted from the draft that the government should discuss by the year's end.

The prices of gold and other raw materials have grown several times in the world and what seemed to be disadvantageous ten years ago, may now pay off, Pavel Kavina, from the Industry and Trade Ministry, told HN.

He claims that the high prices of gold can earn money for highly advanced environment-friendly technologies.

Kavina also said the mining industry creates further business activities and generates jobs which could help start up the Czech economy after the economic recession.

"The opening of three mines would generate an estimated 400 million crowns, including income tax, for the state annually and another 120 million crowns for municipalities," Kavina said.

Mining is also naturally supported by prospecting companies most of which function so that a Czech geology expert with a foreign firm behind him launches a Czech firm, HN writes.

The prospecting licence is granted by the Environment Ministry.

However, municipalities and local associations are opposed to any prospecting and mining.

Some municipalities say the decision should be made in a referendum, HN writes.

"It will harm our water sources, the lorries will break the roads," HN quotes the mayor of a village concerned as saying.

The main problem may rest in the way of processing the extracted ore that may require the banned cyanide leaching in some cases, HN writes.

It writes that gold mining flourished on the territory of the present-day Czech Republic in the 2nd-1st centuries BC and again in the 14th century.

In the 15th to 19th century the production was very low in spite of many attempts made. In the early 20th century Roudny, central Bohemia, was the most modern gold mine in the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, HN writes.

In the 1980s and the 1990s ore mining was being slackened, HN writes.

Some 100 tonnes of gold were extracted throughout the history of mining in the Czech Lands, HN writes.

($1=19.529 crowns)

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