New Delhi: The Mines Ministry will soon approach the Cabinet to get approval for National Mineral Exploration Policy (NMEP) that will pave the way for auction of 100 prospective mineral blocks, boosting India's mining potential.
"Ministry will soon send the NMEP to the Union Cabinet for approval. After the policy is approved, the government can auction 100 blocks that have been identified by Geological Survey of India (GSI) for exploration," a senior official said.
To encourage mineral exploration in the country, the government has already notified National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET), he added.
When asked about the timeframe, he said the note can be sent to the Cabinet as early as this month or in July.
"Through NMEP, the government wants to attract private sector in taking up exploration besides involving state-run GSI, MECL and other notified agencies. States will also play a greater role by referring exploration projects, which can be taken up through NMET," a state government official said.
One of the important features in NMEP is the attractive provisions for private investment in the exploration sector, he added.
NMEP proposes that private entities engaged to carry out regional and detailed exploration will get a certain share in revenue (by way of royalty/ premium to be accruing to state government) from mining operation from the successful bidder after e-auction of mineral block discovered by that private explorer.
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 is proposed to be done through a transparent process of competitive bidding through e-auction. For this, reasonable areas/ blocks for regional exploration will be earmarked/ identified by the Government for auctioning.
Out of India's entire Obvious Geological Potential (OGP) area, identified by GSI, only 10 per cent has been explored and mining is taking place in 1.5-2 per cent of this area.