Bengaluru, Sep 23 (IANS) The Indian mining industry on Wednesday urged the central government to allow exploration and prospecting of minerals in the country by the private sector, including foreign players as is the practice worldwide.
“Early stage exploration is funded the world over by the mining industry whose technological prowess, ability to invest and deliver is better than that of the state machinery,” an industry representative told reporters here.
Though 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) is allowed in the mining sector and global firms are permitted to bid to explore and prospect minerals in the country, the new Mines and Minerals Development Regulation (MMDR) Act, however, mandates government approvals.
“As airborne surveys are estimated to cost a whopping Rs.4,000 crore, which is beyond the scope of the state-run National Mineral Exploration Trust, the government should extend budgetary support for assessing the mineral wealth in terms of quantities for prospecting and mining,” said Federation of Indian Minerals Industry (FIMI) president H. Noor Ahmed.
India imports iron ore and coal despite having huge reserves in mineral-rich states of Karnataka, Goa, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Chattisgarh.
“The government should rope in the private sector to boost prospecting deep-seated metallic minerals, including rare earths, which are being imported heavily for the consumption of the booming electronics industry,” Ahmed said ahead of the three-day Mining, Exploration Convention and Trade Show from Thursday at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC).
In the trade expo, which Union Mines and Steel Minister Narendra Singh Tomar will flag off, seven mineral-rich states, 100 state-run and private firms and about 400 delegates from across the country and six overseas countries are participating in conferences, special sessions and exhibition.