Want more private firms to invest in mineral exploration: Govt

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Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi has said the government is making sustained efforts to attract more private entrepreneurs to invest in mineral exploration. The minister added that mineral exploration will be carried out without adverse environmental impact through enhanced use of drones and other latest technologies.

The minister called upon the Geological Survey of India (GSI) to focus on new-age mineral exploration. In order to give further support to mineral exploration, the National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) has been made an autonomous body, the minister added.

Recalling his recent visit to Australia, Joshi said, “compared to Australia our mineral exploration is restricted to a limited area.”

He said that as a result of recent innovative initiatives and amendments in Acts and rules, 190 major mineral blocks have been auctioned during the last seven years.

Addressing the two-day International Conference on “Indian Minerals & Metals Industry – Transition Towards 2030 & Vision 2047” organized by NMDC Ltd, Ministry of Steel, Ministry of Mines and FICCI, Joshi said that through commercial coal mine auctioning 25,000 crore additional revenue was generated last year and Odisha stood first in revenue generation.

Touching upon some of the recent reforms initiated in the mining sector, Joshi said that coal production from captive mines is expected to touch 140 million tons in the current financial year as compared to 89 million tons last fiscal.

Total coal production during this financial year is likely to record 900 million tons, the minister said.

Pointing out that the commercial coal mine auction is a big success, the minister urged the public sector units to start production from allotted coal blocks at the earliest, or else the same may be surrendered to the ministry for re-auctioning.

(With PTI inputs)

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