GUWAHATI: Arunachal Pradesh has asked the Geological Survey of India (GSI) to explore the possibility of surveying and drilling for minerals along the India-China border.
This follows reports of Beijing carrying out “massive” mining activities very close to the border in the Tibet Autonomous Region. According to information on the Ministry of Home Affairs’ website, Arunachal Pradesh shares 1,126 km of the 3,488 km India shares with China.
“The State Department of Geology and Mining had its annual meeting with the GSI on Tuesday. We suggested to the GSI to move the survey and drilling activities towards the India-China border considering that China is reportedly undertaking huge mining activities in Tibet,” Bidol Tayeng, the Frontier State’s Secretary for Geology and Mining told The Hindu .
The State government also sought the development of road for exploration and extraction of minerals along the international border. The GSI presented the status of mineral deposits in Arunachal Pradesh at the meeting. Data showed that the State has 35% of the total graphite reserves in India – the highest in the country.
The GSI’s 2013 report, however, showed Arunachal Pradesh sits on 43% of the country’s graphite resources followed by Jammu & Kashmir (37%), Jharkhand (6%), Tamil Nadu (5%), and Odisha (3%), But in terms of resources, Tamil Nadu led with 37% followed by Jharkhand with 30% and Odisha with 29%.
“Our State could be the leading producer of graphite, going a long way in cutting down India’s import of the mineral,” Mr Tayeng said.
The only non-metal element that is a good conductor of electricity, graphite is known as a dry lubricant for its greasy feel. Graphite has many industrial uses, particularly for products that need very high heat.
The State Mining Department and GSI also agreed to promote geo-tourism in Arunachal Pradesh, particularly in districts such as Papum Pare, Kurung Kumey, and Ajnaw that have cave formations with lime deposits. Meghalaya is the only State in the Northeast where limestone-rich caves attract a large number of tourists annually. However, many of the Meghalaya caves are under threat from haphazard coal and limestone mining, activists said.