Metals & Mining News

Mineral exploration projects almost doubled in last four years


Mineral exploration projects in India have rose to 325 in the current fiscal according to Union Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi. Responding to a query in the Rajya Sabha, he said that Geological Survey of India (GSI) under the Ministry of Mines, has been carrying out mineral exploration in the country with an aim to augment resource for various mineral commodities. GSI has successfully established resources of Iron ore, Manganese, Chromite, Gold, PGE, Base metals, Rare Earth Elements, Molybdenum, Nickel, Tungsten, Lithium, Limestone, Bauxite, Graphite, Potash, and Phosphorite, among others in this period.

Joshi said that Rajasthan had the highest share of projects accounting for nearly a fifth of the total exploration projects. The number of coal explorations taken up also increased to 17 in 2023-24 from 13 in 2022-23. The surveys have resulted in augmentation of 23.01 billion tonnes of coal, 16.6 billion tonnes of Limestone and 1.83 billion tonnes of Iron ore resource. Among critical minerals, 136 million tonnes (MT) of rare earth elements ore, 5.9 MT lithium, 812 MT Glauconitic Ore/Potash, and 275 tonnes of cobalt were also established.

“The National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) has funded 270 mineral exploration projects in the country out of which 162 projects have been completed,” Joshi said while adding that 88 of these have been successful. With 21, the highest number of successful NMET funded projects are in Odisha. Deposits of Iron, Copper, Manganese, Limestone, Bauxite, and Graphite were found in the state.

Over the years, several amendments have been made to the MMDR Act that has led to a more competitive mining sector. So far, a total of 335 mineral blocks have been auctioned by States (since MMDR Act 2015), out of which 227 (68%) have been auctioned since 2021-22 (since MMDR Amendment Act 2021), he added.


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