Cabinet clears mineral exploration policy

Cabinet clears mineral exploration policy

NMEP's provisions to help boost private investment

Cabinet clears mineral exploration policy

The Centre on Wednesday approved the National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP), which will pave the way for auction of 100 prospective mineral blocks and boosting the country’s mining potential.

“The Cabinet cleared NMEP. After the policy is approved, the government can auction 100 blocks that have been identified by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) for exploration,” said an official from the Ministry of Mines.

To encourage mineral exploration in the country, the Mines Ministry has already notified the National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET).

“Through NMEP, the government wants to attract private sector in exploration, besides involving state-run GSI, MECL (Mineral Exploration Corporation of India) and other notified agencies. States will also play a greater role by referring exploration projects, which can be taken up through NMET,” said the official.

One of the important features of NMEP is attractive provisions for private investment in the exploration sector, the official added.

The Ministry of Mines will carry out auctioning of identified exploration blocks for exploration by private sector on revenue sharing basis in case their exploration leads to auctionable resources. The revenue will be borne by the successful bidder of those auctionable blocks, said a release from the ministry.

If the explorer agencies do not discover any auctionable resources, their exploration expenditure will be reimbursed on normative cost basis. The government will carry out a National Aerogeophysical Programme for acquiring state-of-the-art baseline data for targeting concealed mineral deposits, said the statement. 

A National Geoscientific Data Repository is proposed to be set up to collate all baseline and mineral exploration information generated by various central and state government agencies and also mineral concession holders and to maintain these on geospatial database, said the release.

Of India’s entire Obvious Geological Potential (OGP) area, identified by GSI, only 10% has been explored and mining is undertaken in 1.5-2% of this area.