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Govt. shifting its exploration focus to deep seated minerals and non-ferrous metals: Secretary Mines

Feb 27, 2018


NEW DELHI, 27 February 2018: The Ministry of Mines has taken a conscious decision to shift the focus of exploration to deep seated minerals and non-ferrous metals. The shift is expected to gather momentum in view of the strategic requirement to fuel economic growth, Mr. Arun Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Mines, said here today.


Addressing the conference on 'Landscape for Non-Ferrous Metals in India: Vision 2030', organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in association with the Ministry of Mines, Government of India,  Mr. Kumar said that in order to ensure unhindered exploration of minerals in forested land, the Ministry has submitted detailed proposals on prospecting to the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) since the present prospecting norms do not jell with those of the MoEF. 


He said that a draft minerals policy is already in the public domain for stakeholder comments and feedback. This along with the exploration policy is expected to address the concerns of the industry on base metals. He said, the NITI Aayog was working on a strategic minerals and metals policy and the three policies together would pave the way for a road map for the development of non-ferrous metals sector in the country.


On the exploration of Aluminum deposits, Mr. Kumar said the country is endowed with large reserves and with greater transparency and settlement of the issue of price fixation, the process would be expedited. He said 10 bauxite blocks will be put up for auction in March-April this year. As for copper mining, he said that domestic production was a mere 4% of the requirement. He indicated that copper exploration blocks would come up for auction soon.


The Secretary assured industry representatives that the issue of FTAs inhibiting the growth of the industry would be resolved in the best possible manner.


On the occasion, Mr. Kumar launched a FICCI-Avalon Consulting report titled, 'Indian Non-Ferrous Metals Industry: Way Forward'.


Mr. Jorge Castaneda, Peruvian Ambassador to India, said that the time was ripe for India to invest in the mining sector in Peru given the current and future needs of this country for non-ferrous metals, the shortening of the exploration lifetime world-wide, China�s lead in investment in Peru at US$ 10.1 billion (against $ 30 million by India) and the openness of the sector for India.


Mr. Deepak Kumar Sinha, Inspector General of Forests, MoEF pointed out that conservation of forests, wildlife and environments and mining compete for land use. Forest conservation should not be the concern of the MoEF alone and the mining industry should mainstream environment and forestry concerns in their production planning. While urging industry to prospect for mining in forested land, he said that land allocation for extraction would be allowed only after a cost-benefit analysis.


Mr. S. K. Roongta, Mentor, FICCI Non-Ferrous Committee and Non-Executive Chairman, Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd., urged the government to fast track auction of minerals to help the producers and meet ever-growing demand from consuming industries. He urged the stakeholders to look beyond the current horizon and chalk out a vision for the industry for 2030 that incorporates short and long-term plans for sustainable mining in cooperation with the MoEF.


Mr. Satish Pai, Chair, FICCI Non-Ferrous Metals Committee and MD, Hindalco Industries Ltd., highlighted the critical challenges affecting a robust growth of the sector, especially the China factor, the underdeveloped scrap recycling sector and the problem of inverted duty structure.

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