Bihar discovers deposits of critical minerals, prepares for auctioning mining rights

Explorations near Patalganga in Gaya, parts of Rohtas district and Majos in Jamui district found the presence of millions of tonnes of mineral reserves: officials

March 30, 2023 12:51 pm | Updated 06:59 pm IST - Patna

Photo used for representational purpose only. Critical minerals such as limestone, vanadium-bearing magnetite ilmenite, magnetite and glauconite that have been discovered in various non-forest areas. File

Photo used for representational purpose only. Critical minerals such as limestone, vanadium-bearing magnetite ilmenite, magnetite and glauconite that have been discovered in various non-forest areas. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu Businessline

The Bihar government is preparing to auction mining rights for minerals such as limestone, vanadium-bearing magnetite ilmenite, magnetite and glauconite that have been discovered in various non-forest areas of the State, a senior official said on Thursday.

Explorations near Patalganga in Gaya, parts of Rohtas district and Majos in Jamui district found the presence of millions of tonnes of mineral reserves, according to an official document seen by PTI.

"The state government will engage SBI Capital Markets (SBICAPS) as the transaction advisor for the auctions, and also to suggest the terms and conditions based on which the auctions would be held," Additional Chief Secretary and Mines Commissioner Harjot Kaur Bamhrah told PTI.

"Undoubtedly, the discovery of such critical minerals in non-forest areas of the state is a matter of great satisfaction. We don't have to seek permission from authorities concerned before initiating exploration activities as these deposits are not in forest areas," she said.

The general exploration (G2 stage) in Jamui's Majos has found 48.40 million tonnes of magnetite. Preliminary exploration (G3 stage) in Pipradih-Bhurwa block in Rohtas has established 88.38 mt of Glauconite over a 12.46 sq km non-forest area, Ms. Bamhrah said.

While magnetite, a rock mineral, is one of the main iron ores, glauconite is a green-colored mineral and structurally similar to mica, she said.

"Now, Bihar has sufficient mineral resources to boost its economy," she added.

There are four stages of exploration for any mineral deposit — reconnaissance (G4), preliminary exploration (G3), general exploration (G2) and detailed exploration (G1).

Innovative exploration methods using the latest technologies have resulted in the discovery of several mineral reserves in different parts of the State, Mr. Bamhrah said.

Also Read | Need for increase in mineral exploration activities in eastern States, says Centre

Last month, preliminary exploration in Bhora-Kathra in Rohtas found limestone deposits across 5.60 sq km, she said, noting that 39.68 mt of limestone is estimated in the area.

Vanadium-bearing magnetite ilmenite was found northeast of Patalganga and east of Sapneri village in Gaya and Jehanabad over a 2 sq km area.

Vanadium is used in manufacturing steel, pipes, superconducting magnets, medical implants and batteries, Ms. Bamhrah explained.

The State government has also lined up two mines, worth ₹14,048 crore, of glauconite — a common source of potassium in fertilisers, in Pipradih and Chutia-Nauhatta blocks of Rohtas for auction, she said.

Besides, the Mines and Geology Department has decided to auction iron ore deposits, worth ₹6,000 crore, in Jamui district, she added.

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