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Mines Ministry to float tenders for aerial survey

The move comes in the backdrop of government's plans to encourage mines exploration in the country, which has so far not been able to attract private participation on account of lack of policy bottlenecks as well as favourable business opportunities.

September 24, 2015 / 08:04 PM IST

The government will hire a global exploration agency through a competitive bidding process for conducting aerial geophysical survey of over 8 lakh sq km of potential mining land.

The move comes in the backdrop of government's plans to encourage mines exploration in the country, which has so far not been able to attract private participation on account of lack of policy bottlenecks as well as favourable business opportunities.

"Government has identified more than 8 lakh sq kms of potential mining land, which requires extensive surveys. The exploration land will take around 3-4 years and a global level agency will be engaged for this through a competitive bidding system," Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar said today at a mining event in Bengaluru.

Kumar also elaborated on how advanced technologies will be leveraged to bring large scale changes in the sector, besides using space technology to check illegal mining and use of mobile apps for real time information management.

According to sources, the Mines Ministry is in the process to bring out global tenders to invite foreign mining giants such as Rio Tinto and BHP Bilton who have considerable expertise and technology to conduct mineral explorations.


Last month, the government also notified the National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET), which will look into ways to encourage exploration of mines and minerals in the country. NMET can have funds to the tune of Rs 400-500 crore. Besides, government will come out with National Mineral Exploration Policy to encourage the participation of private sector in exploration.


It aims to increase the contribution of mining to GDP from 2 per cent at present to 6 per cent. However, an industry insider said: "Exploration has been the domain of Geological Survey of India (GSI) in India, but the government is trying to bring in private players to encourage exploration.

We are waiting for them to bring out their policy on exploration." It (exploration), at present, is not a profitable venture for private companies.


So, most of them are waiting for more clarity on this, he added. Meanwhile, an official statement quoting Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar today said allocation of mineral resources through auctions will herald a new era in the mining sector.

"Government on its part has decided to constitute DMF and has launched the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana (PMKKKY) for the welfare of people and areas affected by mining," the statement quoted Tomar.

Contribution to DMF should be seen in that spirit. This will help enhance the image of the mining sector in the eyes of people affected by mining, the Minister added.

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