Askot is located in Didihat tehsil, Pithoragarh District, in the new state of Uttarakhand (formerly Uttaranchal). The property is accessible by paved, all-weather highways along various routes from Haldwani or Tanakpur in the plains.
Askot is just a few kilometers west of the Kali River, which forms the international border with Nepal. It is about 80 km south of the high Himalayas, which form the border with Tibet. The main "985" tunnel level is 985 m above sea level.
The deposit crops out on a hillside below Askot village. The Company's original Prospecting Licence was 793 Hectares, reduced by the Company to 484 Hectares in 2004. The Company's Mining Lease application on a further reduced area of 386 Hectares was approved by the Indian Ministry of Mines and the state of Uttarakhand in 2007. All required permits and clearances for production have been obtained except for final Forest Clearance, which is in progress.
View of Askot project site and access road. Upper metal buildings are the office and core shack; lowest metal buildings are at the portal of the underground workings of the 985-level tunnel. The Kali River in the distance is the international border. The other side is in Nepal. The Askot deposit is below the surface and extends from the lower left corner of the photo to the white houses on the ridge in the right center of the photo."
The region is forested, with farms and pastures on benches and hill sides. Climate is temperate, seldom freezing. Annual precipitation is 150 to 200 cm and falls mainly in summer monsoon from July through September.
Askot's discovery gossan (its rusty outcrop) has been known since antiquity and there is evidence of small scale prehistoric mining.
The United Nations, Geological Survey of India, Uttar Pradesh Directorate of Geology and Mining and two other agencies drilled nearly 9,000m, drove 1,000m of underground workings and ran metallurgical recovery tests in stages from the 1960s to the 1980s. The deposit was found and partly delimited, but never developed or mined.
|Rehabilitated 985 level portal and new rails installed in 2004. Mining Engineer Barun Kumar in foreground, Miner's Mate Bakunth Prasad behind
That situation is rare. Generally a deposit of this class is explored to its limits and considered for production. However none of the government-owned mining companies had sufficient capital or interest to develop it, and the law at the time did not allow foreign or private-sector companies to explore or mine these metals.
(June 22, 2011)