The Government is working on a State Mineral Policy to streamline exploration and exploitation of mineral resources, Rajeev Ranjan, Principal Secretary (Industries) said on Friday.

Addressing officials of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) at the launch of the Tamil version of the publication, “Geology and Mineral Resources of Tamil Nadu,” Mr. Ranjan said the policy would guide efforts to tap into mineral resources while maintaining sustainability, the rights of local communities and environmental preservation.

“The mineral potential in the State is very high and so far we have been only scratching the surface literally,” he said. Apart from a mineral policy that would be modelled on the lines of the national policy, the State was also giving shape to a granite policy to enable balanced exploration and exploitation of quarries, Mr. Ranjan said.

Stressing the need to utilise the vast technical skills of the GSI to propel further industrialisation, Mr. Ranjan said it was important for various departments to work jointly with the GSI. He noted that the Tamil Nadu Minerals Ltd. and the GSI had inked a Memorandum of Understanding to develop platinum resources in the State.

The challenge is to make the role of a lead organisation like the GSI increasingly relevant, he said.

Launching the Tamil publication, Jaswant Singh, GSI Director General, said graphite (in Sivaganga) and limestone (in Perambalur and Cuddalore) are the major industrial minerals prospected in Tamil Nadu. Recently, exploration had been carried out for Platinum Group Elements (PGE), molybdenum and gold, he said.

According to Mr. Singh, there was an estimation of 23 million tonnes of iron ore resources in Tiruchi and Namakkal districts, 2.74 million tonnes of molybdenum ore in Harur, 0.76 million tonnes of graphite ore in Sivaganga and 73 million tonnes of limestone in Virudhachalam and Cuddalore. The GSI is also engaged in geotechnical studies for feasibility of dams and reservoirs. Landslide studies are being carried out in sensitive regions such as The Nilgiris and Kodaikanal, he said.

K. Ayyasami, Deputy Director General, southern region, Hyderabad and I.K. Khan, GSI, Chennai, participated.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National