Massive survey of mineral resources launched

Out of 32 lakh sq.km, 8 lakh sq.km contained mineral-bearing areas in India

Updated - February 15, 2018 08:23 am IST

Published - February 15, 2018 12:20 am IST - HYDERABAD

 Union Minister of Mines Narendra Singh Tomar, Governor E.S.L.Narasimhan and Mines and Geology Minister K. T. Rama Rao at inaugural of Mining Today-2018 at Hitex Centre, Hyderabad on Wednesday

Union Minister of Mines Narendra Singh Tomar, Governor E.S.L.Narasimhan and Mines and Geology Minister K. T. Rama Rao at inaugural of Mining Today-2018 at Hitex Centre, Hyderabad on Wednesday

The Union Government is looking at leveraging the vast mining potential in the country by tapping the resources which hitherto remained untapped.

An aero-magnetic survey was started to identify mine-bearing areas across the country and it covered 7 lakh line km span in the first year. The survey would cover 21 lakh line km over a period of three years. “This is the largest and most intensive survey conducted in any country across the world,” Union Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said.

The exercise was necessitated as the country lagged behind in taking up mining which was the second largest employment generation avenue after agriculture.

Mr. Tomar was speaking at the inaugural of Mining Today 2018, an international conference-cum-exhibition, that began here on Wednesday. Of the total 32 lakh sq.km of area in the country, 8 lakh sq.km contained mineral-bearing areas.

Boost to economy

“We have not explored even 1% of the identified area after decades. We can significantly contribute to the GDP and boost the economy if we can take this to about 10%,” he said.The Central Government had brought some major amendments to the existing Acts to ensure mining activity could be taken up with more responsibility and the States too secured their share in the proceeds. The government had introduced e-auction mode for sanctioning mining licences and over 30 mines auctioned through the process fetched revenue of ₹1.35 lakh crore of which ₹1.04 lakh crore would be apportioned as the States’ share.“States can utilise these amounts for plugging gaps in health, education and other sectors. They should also come up with proposals for mining activity as the Centre has announced a revenue-sharing model in this direction,” he observed. In addition, the Centre had also set up the District Mineral Foundation, a trust which worked for the rehabilitation and resettlement of people affected by mining activity in the respective districts. An amount of ₹13,600 crore had been collected from miners for taking up the relief and rehabilitation activities.

Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, who inaugurated the conference, stressed on the need for care and caution in exploration of mines besides ensuring that the concerns over the safety and health of mine workers were addressed adequately.

Mine safety

Efforts should be made to ensure transparency in the utilisation of funds under the DMF to improve the living standards and conditions of the affected people. “Annual reports on the utilisation can be brought out,” he said.

Efforts should be made to ensure transparency in implementing the relief and rehabilitation packages for the affected families, especially tribes besides making it mandatory to take up reclamation and afforestation, he opined. “People not following the norms should be penalised. Rules have to be implemented and not confined to the statute book. This is something we have to do,” he said.

Union Mines Secretary Arun Kumar, Mining Engineers Association of India president A.K. Kothari, FICCI director general Dilip Chenoi, Mining Today 2018 conference chair B.R.V. Susheel Kumar and other also spoke.

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