'Lack of private sector interest hindering mineral exploration'
Mineral exploration in India is currently constrained due to lack of private sector participation, Union minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday.
A public private partnership could be tried out to give a fillip to mineral exploration, Goyal, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, said.
Addressing a FICCI conference here, he said, "the time is ripe to reflect on where we had gone wrong" while suggesting setting up of a committee comprising young mining aspirants to develop a position paper to speed up exploration activities.
"This committee should look at innovative ways to bring down the time of actual operation of mine after it is put up for auction, thus enabling the sector to make a quantum jump," he added.
Underlining the need to step up mineral exploration in the country, he said that at present it is "constrained due to lack of private sector participation".
Seeking to address industry concerns, Goyal said that high value, strategic and import substitution minerals were the priority for exploration for making India self-sufficient in minerals.
The disparity in stamp duty in various states would be addressed by the Centre in consultation with the state governments, he said.
Besides, mapping would be undertaken and data on minerals would be updated for making an accurate assessment of mineral reserves in the country, Goyal said.
FICCI Secretary General A Didar Singh said that mineral security was as essential as energy and food security for the economic growth of the country and the private sector has to play a critical role to accelerate the pace of growth of the mining sector.
Mines Secretary Arun Kumar and Syedain Abbasi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Steel were among those who attended the conference.