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Acceleration of exploration activity is key aspect of India’s NMEP

07 july 2016
The new National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP), which was recently approved by the Union Cabinet of the Government of India, was released on July 4, 2016, according to a statement issued by the Press Information Bureau.
One of the key aspects of the policy, which released at the National Conclave on Mines and Minerals in Raipur, Chhatisgarh, was for the acceleration of exploration activity in the country, through enhanced participation of the private sector.
The statement stated that the auctioning of identified blocks for exploration by private sector will soon be carried out by the Ministry of Mines. This will be on a revenue sharing basis in case their exploration leads to auctionable resources, but, if any auctionable resources are not discovered, exploration expenditure will be reimbursed on normative cost basis, says the government.
The policy also proposes a comprehensive mineral exploration of the country to uncover its full mineral potential, based on which the resources can be put to best use and help maximise the sector’s contribution to the economy.
To this end, a National Aerogeophysical Program for acquiring baseline data for targeting concealed mineral deposits will be carried out by the government and a National Geoscientific Data Repository will be created which will collate all baseline and mineral exploration information generated by various central & state government agencies, and mineral concession holders.  This geospatial database will have public access, the policy said.
Additionally, government will promote collaboration with scientific and research bodies, universities and industry for the scientific and technological development necessary for exploration through public-private partnership.
Estimated budgetary expenditure for implementation of the policy has been pegged at about $ 319 mn over five years, over and above the annual plan budget of the Geological Survey of India under the Ministry of Mines.
The new policy has been drawn up to take forward earlier steps initiated by the government for the growth of the mineral sector.

Aruna Gaitonde, Editor-in-Chief of Asian Bureau, Rough & Polished