Published On : Sat, Jan 17th, 2015

Government hints at allowing private players in mineral exploration

The Centre is keen to get private sector into mineral exploration as government agencies entrusted with the job are unable to meet desired output levels.

This was stated by Union Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar at an interactive session on ‘Development of Mineral-Based Industries in Vidarbha’ organised by Manganese Ore India Ltd (MOIL) here today on Saturday.

“We have plenty of natural resources and sufficient manpower but exploration has not been to the desired extent all these years. Therefore, private players would be entrusted with the job of mineral exploration,” he said.

Mineral exploration in the last 66 years had been quite meagre in India as compared to China and South Africa. Therefore, there was a need for carrying out more exploration in near future, the minister said.

Tomar said his ministry is setting up a National Mineral Exploration Fund from the royalty collected from respective states and some money will also be allocated from the Union Budget.

Tomar said the amendment in the Mines and Mineral Development Regulation Act, 1957 via an ordinance recently has paved the way for putting in place transparent policies for the key sector.

Union Shipping and Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said chances of reduction in power tariff in Maharashtra are slim as all energy companies are facing financial problem.

He said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis was exploring the possibility of giving some subsidy to the sector.

The Centre was considering providing police protection to industries in Gadchiroli, the worst Naxal affected district in the State, Gadkari said.

Also, skills development programmes will be organised in the left-wing extremism affected districts in Vidarbha to wean the local youths away from Naxalism.