New Mineral Policy in two months: Mines Ministry

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New Delhi, Aug 17 (IANS) The government is giving final touches to the draft National Mineral Policy and is likely to announce it within two months, a Mines Ministry official said on Friday.

“The new policy aims to give a big boost to exploration activities. In three to five years, the exploration of minerals should gather momentum and double every year,” Mines Joint Secretary Bipul Pathak said.

Pathak was speaking at a National Summit on Mineral Exploration and Sustainability, organised by industry body Ficci and International Institute of Corporate Sustainability and Responsibility (IICSR).

Responding to industry’s concern over high taxes, the new policy will take cognisance of the recommendations on royalties and other levies to put a liberal regime in place, he said.

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Pathak urged the private sector to step up investment in mineral exploration and assured industry that the government will extend financial and other support to junior exploration companies developed by the private sector.

Explaining the reasons for the lack of private investment in the sector, Vedanta Director Kishore Kumar called for making exploration blocks sustainable through offer of larger blocks and mining rights to companies doing reconnaissance work.

Making available technology and equipment developed indigenously to explorers and benchmarking of taxation with international norms were the other requests made by Kumar.

Essel Mining and Industries MD and Ficci Mining Committee Chair Tuhin Mukherjee stressed the need to develop a sustainability framework at the planning stage itself and called for introspection on the need to open mines wherever minerals were available.

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Advocating for sustainable mining, IICSR Founder Harsha Mukherjee said the day is not far when the country’s progress will be measured in terms of sustainable domestic production rather than its Gross Domestic Product.

Geological Survey of India Director General Dinesh Gupta spoke of the opportunities and challenges in expediting mineral exploration in the country.

–IANS

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