Govt moves to allow mining by private sector, foreign firms

04 Dec 2015


The ministry of mines and steel is actively considering plans to allow private sector mining companies and overseas exploration firms to carry out new exploration in the country, secretary, ministry of mines, said on Thursday

The government is also in the process of formulating new rules for atomic minerals in the country, Balvinder Kumar, secretary, ministry of mines, said while addressing an interactive session on 'Encouraging Exploration in India: Charting the Course for Better Mineral Finds', convened by the Confederation of Indian Industry in Delhi.

Kumar said the draft National Mineral Exploration Policy will be ready in the few months and that it would address the current concerns before the sector. 

Since the exploration of minerals requires huge amounts of technology and financial resources, Kumar said, the government intends to bring in new models to attract the private sector in exploration.

Elaborating further, he said the three proposed models for attracting private sector participation in exploration could be:

  • Revenue share from Mining Lease proceeds for 50 years;
  • Reimbursement of costs with reasonable profits; or
  • Joint venture with public sector on proceeds.

He invited comments and suggestions from CII and industry within the framework of MMDR to encourage the exploration in the country.

Addressing the session, minister of mines and steel Narendra Singh Tomar said five states have issued notice inviting interest for auctioning of mines in 28 blocks.

''The process of auction of mines is moving fast and is to start soon. Five states have issued notice for inviting auctioning for mines in 28 blocks for major minerals'' the minister said.

Thomar said the MMDR Act 2015 has been amended to bring in transparency in the auctions and now the thrust is on exploration. The government, he said, is committed to bringing in an attractive exploration policy to encourage private investment and expertise into the sector and has set up National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET).

The minister stressed the need for raising the exploration spend from the current 0.4 per cent, which was abysmally low. He said that the government is moving with a new sprit towards exploration, while Geological Survey of India (GSI), the Mining Exploration Corporation of India (MECI) and other public and private sector bodies have been working in this direction there is a need for a cohesive thinking amongst all stakeholders, he said.

Earlier, welcoming the guests, Narendra Kothari, chairman CII National Committee on Mining and chairman cum-managing director of NMDC Limited, said that in the years to come, mining is expected to be a key industry, attracting huge investments (both domestic and foreign) thereby generating additional employment and stressed on concentrating on devising a strategy for a time bound Exploration throughout the country

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