Mines Ministry bats for exclusion of exploration from forest clearances: Official

The Mines Ministry has made a plea to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to keep the exploration activity out of the ambit of forest clearance, a top official on Friday said.

”We have requested the Ministry of Environment and forest that exploration activity should not be treated as diversion of forest area. So, we are in active consultation with them…This is part of cabinet note and we have sought public comments,” Mines Secretary Alok Tandon said on the sidelines of FIMI’s 56th Annual General Meeting.

The mines ministry is of the view that the exploration may not result finally in mining activity, and the forest areas where the drilling has been done can be restored back to their original shape.

”And let’s say that it is only in one out of 25 cases or in one out of 50 cases exploration would result in the discovery of mineral. So it is only in one out of 50 cases where the diversion of the forest will finally happen.

”So, if we exclude exploration activity and not consider it as diversion of forest area or a non-forestry activity then exploration activity can move forward,” the secretary explained.

To enable the auction of more mineral blocks and augment the production of minerals, more exploration is required to be conducted. Mining operations can be undertaken in an area only after the existence of minerals is established in the said area.

Necessary forest clearance would anyway be taken before the start of mining operations, the mines ministry had earlier said.

The Secretary further said that the mineral and mining sector faces an acid test today for enhancing its growth potential.

The country, he said, is already at a stage where substantial mineral resources are depleting fast.

The stakeholders comprising the industry and exploration agencies must together step up their efforts to meet future resource requirements by allowing more deep-seated sources for minerals that are acquired.

The mines ministry, he said, is working on a separate policy for giving incentives for the promotion of these deep-seated minerals.

The growing momentum of the auction regime, Tandon said, can fetch rich dividends in numbers in terms of mineral production growth.

However, time taken to bring an auctioned mine into production needs to be reduced further and the government is working with stakeholders in this direction.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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