Millennium Post

Govt works to increase private role in non-coal mineral blocks exploration

New Delhi: Asserting that the exploration activity of non-coal mineral blocks should double every year, the mines ministry on Friday said it was working towards augmenting the participation of the private sector in this regard in the future, the government said on Friday.

"We are also preparing a document for increasing the private sector participation in the mineral exploration activity in future. We will be also allocating some money specifically for certain category of private sector participants so that the activity of exploration percolates to the private sector in India," Mines Joint Secretary Bipul Pathak said here.

He was speaking during the National Summit on Mineral Exploration and Sustainability.

"In my opinion at least the activity (exploration) should double every year now," he said adding that "there is a limit to what government agencies can do".

To increase the exploration, the private sector has to come in and that is the only way, he added.

Several industry bodies "have been stressing upon that the junior company concept is a very valid concept and has not taken off in India as yet. So we will be globalising our efforts under NMET (National Mineral Exploration Trust) to invite junior exploration companies to come and provide certain level of assurance of businesses as well as certain level of assurance for collaboration with the Indian develop exploration projects and access the funding under the NMET scheme", he said.

The government, he said, is also trying to bring every level of private participant in the exploration sector all over the world to come and work in India.

"Beyond their own licences, I don't think private sector has invested any money in exploration sector in the past. Even today, I don't think there is any investment happening on the part of the private sector," he added. Meanwhile, he said, that the draft National Mineral policy was being given final touches.

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