Mines ministry has sops to lure private capital to exploration
To make exploration more attractive for private players, the mining ministry has decided to incentivise exploration and has engaged SBI Caps for empanelment of private players for the activity.
“We are going to offer incentives for finding viable reserve and the same will be either 0.05 per cent of resource value or 10 times of the annual retention fee which ever is higher,” Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar said.
Advertisement seeking exploration companies for empanelment would be released soon, he said.
Out of 100 mineral blocks of Geological Survey of India, 22 have been earmarked for the private sector. While, 30 blocks will be explored by Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd, 18 would be done by state owned agencies and rest 30 by GSI themselves, Kumar said.
Government will reimburse the costs to exploration firms that fail to find mineral wealth from the National Mineral Exploration Trust while, offering them a share of the revenue from blocks where they strike extractable reserves.
However, the exploration firms will not enjoy any preferential right to the blocks where they find viable mineral reserves. The relaxation from the defence ministry in amending approval system will benefit the government’s new mineral exploration policy under which it proposes to offer vast area for exploration.
“Earlier, there were restrictions in putting certain geological data on public domain which are now relaxed, helping exploration in a bigger way,” a GSI official said. Kumar said so far 16 mineral blocks with estimated resource value of Rs 17,000 crore had been auctioned and by this year the target is for total 50 blocks and in the next fiscal, government aims to put another 100 blocks under the hammer.
He said for sustainable mining in the country, star rating had been introduced but the same will be based on self-certification.
GIS unveils online system to boost mines’ exploration
The Geological Survey of India on Tuesday unveiled its Online Core Business Integrated System (OCBIS), a step forward towards a suitable ecosystem around the newly unveiled National Mineral Exploration Policy. Geoscience data will boost mining exploration in the country and will also be useful for academicians, students and the general public. The OCBIS infrastructure will be able to deliver all baseline and exploration pre-competitive data.