Kolar Gold Fields

Useful Information

Location: Kolar district in Karnataka, near Bangalore.
(12.958887, 78.265770)
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Classification: MineGold Mine
Light: n/a
Guided tours: self guided
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Kolar Gold Fields.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


~100 first mining activities.
~900 mining intensified during the Chola period.
1850s large-scale mining under the British.
1873 exclusive privilege of mining in the Kolar district granted to M.F. Lavelle by the Mysore Government.
1875 first shaft near Urigam.
1956 Indian government takes control.
1965 first cosmic ray neutrino interaction recorded in an underground laboratory in KGF mines.
2001 Bharat Gold Mines closed.
2003 mines closed.


The eastern Dharwar Craton of southern India includes at least three schist belts. One of them is the Kolar Shist Belt. They are 2.7Ga old, and have been altered by mesothermal, quartz-carbonate vein gold mineralization. The host rocks are amphibolites and the ore veins are flanked by only a thin zone of biotitic alteration.

Kolar Shist Belt is the southernmost belt, trending north-south. It consists predominantly of tholeiitic amphibolites, in minor amounts komatiitic amphibolites (BIF), graphitic schists and felsic schists (Champion Gneiss). The gold-quartz vein mineralization is most intense in the central zone, along a tectonic contact zone between two suites of metavolcanics. The Kolar schist belt is a late Archean suture (~2.5Ga).


Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) was one of the major gold mines in India and was considered the world's second deepest gold mine. After almost 2,000 years of gold mining, and three centuries of great importance, the mines were closed a few years ago. This resulted in massive unemployment as about one hundred thousand miners worked for the gold mine. Many people moved away and Kolar has lost a lot of inhabitants.

The government of Karnataka planned to open the first show mine of India here, to create a new income for at least some former miners. The idea was to attract both international tourism and inland tourism from the nearby Indian IT capital Bangalore, which is only 100 km away. Then the site was used to shoot a movie named Kolar Gold Fields and its sequel. Again, there were discussions to open a show mine. The reality is that there is a hill composed of colourful and slightly poisonous slack, and you are free to visit the site. There is a sort of parking lot and trails across the hill.

Kolar is located on a plateau called Deccan. This plateau is about 1,000 m above sea level and thus has a rather moderated climate, a reason why it was very popular among British civilians. One settlement was once known as Chhota England or Little England. This time ended in 1956 when the Indian government took control and the Brits where expelled.

The Kolar Gold Fields produced 800 tons of pure gold over the last 100 years. 200,000 people lived in the area, and all of them were directly or indirectly dependent on the mines. Champion Reef Mine was recognized as one of the deepest mines in the world, 3.2 km below the surface. The decline came with the closure of Bharat Gold Mines in 2001. Until 2003 all mines in the area were closed, and at least half of the inhabitants moved away in the first year.