MINES MIN­ISTRY SET TO IDEN­TIFY 50 BLOCKS FOR PRI­VATE EX­PLO­RATION

MIN­ISTRY TO SE­LECT PO­TEN­TIAL BLOCKS OF 100 SQ KM AND ABOVE

Resource Digest - - NEWS -

The govern­ment is iden­ti­fy­ing large tracts of land to be given to pri­vate com­pa­nies for de­tailed ex­plo­ration of min­er­als. Mines Sec­re­tary Balvin­der Ku­mar said that the min­istry is in the process of iden­ti­fy­ing at least 50 po­ten­tial blocks of 100 sq km and above to be given to com­pa­nies for bring­ing pri­vate in­vest­ment in the min­eral ex­plo­ration sec­tor.

The blocks will be given to pri­vate firms once the na­tional min­eral ex­plo­ration pol­icy is fi­nalised.

The min­istry has com­pleted con­sul­ta­tion with the stake­hold­ers and is in the process of fi­nal­is­ing the pol­icy, he said. The pol­icy aims to boost pri­vate in­vest­ment in min­eral ex­plo­ration by in­cen­tivis­ing pri­vate firms.

The blocks will be awarded in the three mod­els pro­posed in the na­tional min­eral ex­plo­ration pol­icy for at­tract­ing pri­vate sec­tor par­tic­i­pa­tion in ex­plo­ration – rev­enue share from min­ing lease pro­ceeds for 50 years, JV be­tween pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tor firms and re­im­burse­ment of costs with rea­son­able prof­its.

Pri­vate sec­tor par­tic­i­pa­tion is re­quired in ex­plo­ration as In­dia has been able to carry out only 10% re­gional ex­plo­ration while coun­tries like Aus­tralia, which have sim­i­lar ge­o­log­i­cal en­dow­ment, have com­pleted 100% of re­gional ex­plo­ration. The min­eral ex­plo­ration pol­icy aims to re­place the ear­lier method of award­ing re­con­nais­sance per­mits by the govern­ment to pri­vate firms for pre­lim­i­nary prospect­ing of a min­eral through re­gional, aerial, geo­phys­i­cal or geo­chem­i­cal sur­veys and ge­o­log­i­cal map­ping. The method, how­ever, failed, given that of the 401 re­con­nais­sance per­mits is­sued dur­ing the 14-year pe­riod since 2001, only about 15 con­verted to prospect­ing li­cences.

The govern­ment also plans to tap ` 450500 crore rev­enue in the Na­tional Min­eral Ex­plo­ration Trust that seeks to en­hance ex­plo­ration ac­tiv­i­ties. The amended Mines and Min­eral De­vel­op­ment Act man­dates firms to con­trib­ute 2% roy­alty for fa­cil­i­tat­ing ex­plo­ration.

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