Union Minister for Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi plans to use about Rs 1,500 crore lying in the exploration trust to boost India's mineral output by 200 per cent in the next seven years.
He said the mining industry is undergoing reforms through transformative investor friendly interventions like the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act 2015, that introduced transparent and competitive auction process for grant of mineral concessions besides setting up of National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) to accelerate mineral exploration activity.
"More than Rs 1,500 crore has been accumulated in the NMET fund during last three years. And as far as the information I have, today out of that ...around Rs 200 crores have been spent...For exploration activities there is a fund to invest," he said urging geoscientists to come forward.
Mines and Coal Minister Joshi urged the geo-scientists to come forward to unearth deep-seated minerals as demands on mineral resources in the country are at an all-time high.
"Mining sector has a pivotal role to play in the 'Make in India' vision of the Prime Minister. Growth of economy is dependent on uninterrupted supply of minerals, which form the basic raw materials for industry... The Government aims to increase mineral production (in value terms) by 200 per cent in 7 years," the Minister said during National Geoscience Award 2018.
He said to boost mining, National Mineral Policy 2019 has been unveiled that proposes to attract private investment through various incentives like financial package, right of first refusal at the time of auction etc.
The Minister said that since the search for the near surface deposits have reached a point of saturation, the country now faces the challenge of finding deep seated and concealed mineral resources by applying state-of-the-art technologies.
He said apart from the District Mineral Foundation (DMF), to work for the interest and benefit of people and areas affected by mining related operations, the government has also set up the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojna (PMKKY) to ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected people in mining areas.
He said the Geological Survey of India has almost doubled its exploration activity by implementing about 400 mineral exploration projects on various mineral commodities.
Mines Secretary Anil Mukim, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences M Rajeevan, Economic Advisor, Mines Alok Chandra and Director General, GSI, Suresh N Meshram were also present on the occasion.