India has hit a gold motherlode of over 3,000 tons across multiple mines, worth about $167 billion—or it hasn't. Take your pick, based on the media report. The Deccan Herald and Hindustan Times are among outlets reporting that the Geological Survey of India (GSI), a federal mining ministry, has spotted the gold in Uttar Pradesh. A giddy News 18 report says the government is already beginning "the process for allocation of blocks" and has "constituted a seven-member team for auctioning of these blocks through e-tendering process." The team also planned to geo-tag the region and tender an official report Saturday. India currently has 626 tons of gold reserve, merely a fifth of the new find.
But the GSI quickly threw cold water on the report, per Business Standard. "There must have been some miscommunication of facts because of which the gold ore deposits have been overestimated," says Shri Sridhar, head of the GSI. "We have written a letter to Uttar Pradesh (UPDGM), stating the facts." He said 52,806 tons of gold were discovered in Sonbhadra district back in 1998-2000, but only about 350 pounds of gold can be extracted from it. If so, it's too bad for India: The nation's Business Today site was already agog, saying India would have the world's second-biggest gold reserve next to America's 8,133 tons—and might restore the wealthy status India enjoyed in ancient times. (Read more gold stories.)