National mineral policy eyes 200% output rise in 7 years

New Delhi: The National Mineral Policy 2019 — which seeks to augment mineral output by 200 per cent in seven years — will need backing from all stakeholders to make it a success, a senior government official said Thursday. Highlighting key aspects of the new policy, Mines Joint Secretary A K Nayak said it focuses on raising the share of mining in the country's GDP through large scale exploration with priority to deep-sea minerals, and by assisting in getting the necessary clearances.

He was speaking at a conference organised by industry body Ficci. "National Mineral Policy (NMP) a fine document but would need support from all stakeholders to make it a success," Nayak said, adding "the new policy is a very fine document, but it is up to all of us to make it a blueprint for action".

Unless there is complete synergy among all stakeholders - industry, the Centre, states and regulators - it would be very difficult to make a headway, he noted.

"The NMP talks of increasing mineral production by 200 per cent in seven years. It's a very ambitious target. It also talks of reducing the trade deficit in mineral sector by 50 per cent in seven years. Government is conscious of the fact that there is a need to reduce the import bill," Nayak said.

He also highlighted that the new policy has pitched for exclusive mining zones having in-principle statutory clearances and inter-generational equity, among others. "Inter-generational equity is basically responsible and sustainable mining so that we don't exhaust all our reserves and leave nothing for the future generation," the joint secretary added.

He further suggested that utilising both high and low-grade minerals with beneficiation technology and adopting global best practices in exploration, mining, smelting and downstream processing. Creating a consortium of small-scale mining companies for particular categories can help them access both capital and technology, he added.

Meanwhile, the indefinite protest by tribals against iron ore mining in Bailadila hills range at Dantewada in Chhattisgarh has ended, a senior government official said. The Mines Ministry official said that NMDC which holds the mining rights in the Bailadila range area would prepare a report on the matter.

Tribals from about 200 villages of Dantewada last week had launched the indefinite protest against mining in a hill revered as the shrine of a local deity.

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