The Union Cabinet on 29 June 2016 approved the National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP). With this, the government can now auction 100 prospective mineral blocks that have been identified by the Geological Survey of India (GSI) for exploration. Through NMEP, the government aims to attract private sector in exploration of minerals, besides involving State-run GSI, MECL and other notifiedagencies. To encourage mineral exploration in the country, the Mines Ministry had already notified the National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET).
Highlights of the National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP)
• It proposed that private entities engaged in carrying out regional and detailed exploration would get a certain share in revenue in mining operation from the successful bidder after the e-auction of block.
• The revenue-sharing could be either in the form of a lump sum or an annuity, to be paid throughout the period of mining lease with transferable rights.
• Selection of private explorer would be done through a transparent process of competitive bidding through e-auction.
• For selection of private explorer, reasonable areas or blocks for regional exploration will be earmarked or identified by the government for auctioning.
As identified by Geological Survey of India (GSI), out of India’s entire Obvious Geological Potential (OGP) area, only 10 percent has been explored yet and mining is undertaken in 1.5-2 percent of this area.