State Finance minister Amit Mitra invited investments in the mining sector, pointing out the vast resources available in Bengal.
Welcoming the investors after displaying the possibilities in the state at the Global Mining Summit and International Mining and Machinery Exhibition on Wednesday, Mitra said: “I have appealed the business fraternity here to invest in Bengal. The prospect in this sector was rightly pointed out by the state government led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
“Bengal is the third largest mineral resource rich state in the country. The state produces one-fifth of the total mining resources of India. It throws an opportunity for employment growth. The coal reserves of Deocha-Pachami in Bengal, second largest in the world, at 2,00,000 million tonne, alone can create enormous jobs,” Mitra said.
The minister pointed out that geological surveys have indicated that the state has untapped reserves of iron ore, dolomites, tungsten, fireclay, granite and sand. “The government has made the state’s minerals related geo-scientific data public and updated rules for mining,” he added.
It may be recalled that in June this year the Chief Minister had laid the foundation stone for the Rs 2,200 crore coal project at Kenduli in Birbhum district. The Deucha Panchmari Dewangunj coalmines project will be implemented jointly by West Bengal Mineral Development Corporation and Bengal Birbhum Coalfields Ltd. The project is likely to be operational in 2019 and will employ about one lakh people. The Deucha Panchmari Dewangunj coalmines project project is expected to bring a vast change in the economy of Birbhum district and its adjoining areas and could help Bengal in solving its unemployment problem to a great extent.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Mitra said Bengal has tied up with Kudremukh Iron Ore Company (KIOCL) for iron ore deposit exploration in the state. Recently, Kudremukh, a public sector company, had joined hands with the West Bengal Mineral Development and Trading Corporation (WBMDTC) to form a joint venture worth Rs 850 crore for exploration, extraction and beneficiation of iron ore for the first time in the state.
KIOCL will own 49 per cent stake in the new joint venture, while WBMDTC will have 51 per cent shareholding. The new company will utilise KIOCL’s expertise in mining and WBMDTC’s assets to look for iron ore.
Mitra also informed that mining would be carried out shortly in four blocks held by West Bengal Power Development Corporation. All these will offer huge investment opportunities. “Granite can be found in West Midnapur’s Belpahari. But we have to think about the environmental aspect and opinions of the local people,” the minister further said.