Union minister of steel and mines Narendra singh Tomar unveiled the National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP) on 4 July 2016. It was unveiled to adopt comprehensive exploration of non fuel and non coal mineral resources.
The policy was released at National conclave on mines and minerals at Raipur in Chhattisgarh.
• The policy aims to bring together best of knowledge and experience, modern technology, trained manpower and financial resources on a collaborative platform.
• The objective of the policy is to set in motion a massive process for mineral exploration of the country that would give a major boost to the economy.
• Space technology would be used to check illegal mining by developing a mining surveillance system.
• It prescribes for incentivising the participation of private companies in exploration.
• It calls for engaging the private agencies to carry out exploration with the right to a certain share in the revenue from the successful bidder of mineral block after e-auction, which will be discovered by that private explorer. The revenue will be shared by way of royalty/premium to be accruing to the state government.
• The revenue sharing could be either in the form of a lump sum or an annuity, to be paid throughout the period of mining lease, with transferable rights.
• Government will also work out normative cost of exploration works for different kinds of minerals so that the exploration agencies could be compensated, in case they could not discover any mineable reserves in their respective areas.
• This will be an added incentive for exploration agencies to mitigate their risk of exploration.
Process of selection of the private explorer via process of competitive bidding includes
• Acquisition, processing and interpretation of pre-competitive baseline geo-science data play a pivotal role in successful exploration process. In this regard, the NMEP proposes the following:
a) The pre-competitive baseline geo-scientific data will be created as a public good and will be fully available for open dissemination free of charge.
b) A National Aero-geophysical Mapping program will be launched to map the entire country. It will help to delineate the deep-seated and concealed mineral deposits.
• National Geoscience Data Repository (NGDR) will be set up. GSI will collate all baseline and mineral exploration information generated by various central and state government agencies and also mineral concession holders and maintain these on a geospatial database.
• Government will coordinate and collaborate with scientific and research bodies, universities and industry for the scientific and technological research to address the mineral exploration challenges in the country. For this, a not-for-profit autonomous body/company to be known as the National Centre for Mineral Targeting (NCMT) will be established.
• State Governments have a key role in building up a steady stream of auctionable prospects. They will have to take up mineral exploration and complete to G3 or G2 level for auctioning. The States need to build up the exploration capabilities, technical expertise and infrastructure facility. The Central Government will provide support to States for capacity building from National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET).
• On the lines of UNCOVER project of Australia, a special initiative will be launched to probe deep-seated/concealed mineral deposits in the country. The pilot project will be in collaboration with National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) and the proposed National Centre for Mineral Targeting (NCMT)) and Geoscience Australia.
• SBI Capital Markets Ltd (SBICAP) has been selected as consultant by the Ministry of Mines for development of detailed modalities of contractual framework for mineral exploration. The Ministry will provide handholding support to the State Governments in this process of engaging the private agencies.
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When: 4 July 2016