Govt. to auction at least 3 gold mines to recover losses

India is planning to auction at least three gold mines in 2016, a top government official said, opening up the sector to private firms for the first time ever in a bid to slash imports of the metal that cost the government Rs 3,600 crore last year.

Economically crippling shipments of up to 1,000 tonnes of gold, accounting for about a quarter of India's annual trade deficit, have already prompted the government to hike import duties and launch a scheme aimed at mobilising a pool of over 20,000 tonnes of the metal lying idle in homes.

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