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National Mineral Policy, 2008 (For Non-Fuel & Non-Coal Minerals)

1. Preamble

  • Minerals are a valuable natural resource being the vital raw material for infrastructure, capital goods and basic industries. As a major resource for development the extraction and management of minerals has to be integrated into the overall strategy of the country’s economic development. The exploitation of minerals has to be guided by long-term national goals and perspectives. Just as these goals and perspectives are dynamic and responsive to the changing global economic scenario so also the national mineral policy has to be dynamic taking into consideration the changing needs of industry in the context of the domestic and global economic environment. It is, therefore, necessary to revisit the National Mineral Policy, 1993, as provided in para 4 of the same, and to spell out in a revised statement the different elements of policy, including elements newly evolved, for the development of the mineral resources of the country.

2. Basic features

  • The country is blessed with ample resources of a number of minerals and has the geological environment for many others. To exploit the country’s geological potential it is important that scientific and detailed prospecting is carried out in search of its mineral resources. It will be ensured that regional and detailed exploration is carried out systematically in the entire geologically conducive mineral bearing area of the country using state-of-the-art techniques in a time bound manner. Minerals being a valuable resource the extraction of mineral resources located through exploration and prospecting has to be maximised through scientific methods of mining, beneficiation and economic utilisation. Zero waste mining will be the national goal and mining technology will be upgraded to ensure extraction and utilisation of the entire run-of-mines.
  • To achieve both these goals of large scale prospecting and optimal mining large investments will be required together with the latest technologies in prospecting and mining. The regulatory environment will be improved to make it more conducive to investment and technology flows. Capital market structures will be developed to attract risk investment into survey and prospecting. Transparency in allocation of concessions will be assured. Preference may be given to a value addition industry in grant of mineral concession. However, this will not in any way undermine the security of tenure to a holder of a concessionaire. The development of a proper inventory of resources and reserves, a mining tenement registry and a mineral atlas will be given priority. Enforcement of mining plans for adoption of proper mining methods and optimum utilisation of minerals will be ensured. For these purposes the Geological Survey of India (GSI), the Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) and the State Directorates of Mining & Geology will be strengthened with man power, equipment and skill sets upgraded to the level of state of the art.
  • Mining is closely linked with forestry and environment issues. A significant part of the nation’s known reserves of some important minerals are in areas which are under forest cover. Further, mining activity is an intervention in the environment and has the potential to disturb the ecological balance of an area. However, the needs of economic development make the extraction of the nation’s mineral resources an important priority. A framework of sustainable development will be designed which takes care of bio diversity issues and to ensure that mining activity takes place along with suitable measures for restoration of the ecological balance. Special care will be taken to protect the interest of host and indigenous (tribal) populations through developing models of stakeholder interest based on international best practice. Project affected persons will be protected through comprehensive relief and rehabilitation packages in line with the National Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy.
  • As the country develops and industry grows assured availability and proximity of mineral resources will play an important role in giving a competitive edge to Indian industry. The multiplier effect of minerals processed into metals on downstream industrialisation cannot be over emphasised. Value addition will, therefore, be actively encouraged. However, such value addition will go hand in hand with the growth of the mineral sector as a stand alone industrial activity. While, appropriate linkages between exploitation of minerals and their end use including the development of industry based on the minerals will be established wherever feasible, a downward curve in an industrial sector using a particular mineral within the country need not be allowed to effect the growth of mining activity for that mineral. Hence employment and tertiary sector spin offs from both value addition as well as from mining will be encouraged so as to maximise the contribution of the mineral sector to the country’s gross domestic product.
  • Mining infrastructure requires a special thrust as the economic efficiency of evacuation of minerals from pit mouth to user point or port or rail head is closely linked to the end use value of the mineral and of the viability of the industry using the mineral. Innovative structures will be devised for developing and financing the infrastructure needs of the mining sector. While assistance through viability gap funding will be extended where required the principle of user charges and Private Public Participation will be the basis on which mining infrastructure will be built.
  • India is a federal structure with a single economic space. Nevertheless, the legitimate fiscal interests of States which are mineral rich need to be protected. The revenues from minerals will be rationalised to ensure that the mineral bearing States get a fair share of the value of the minerals extracted from their grounds. New sources of revenue will be developed for the States and State agencies involved in mineral sector development and regulation will be encouraged to modernise in the areas of prospecting as well as regulation. The States will be assisted to overcome the problem of illegal mining through operational and financial linkages with the Indian Bureau of Mines.
  • To enable the use of state of the art exploration techniques, scientific mining and optimal use of minerals through ore dressing and beneficiation technologies it is necessary not only to promote research and development in minerals but to simultaneously establish appropriate educational and training facilities for human resources development to meet the manpower requirements of the mineral industry. These matters will receive prime importance and a comprehensive institutional framework for Research & Development, and Training will be developed.
  • These aspects constitute the essentials of the new National Mineral Policy, 2008. A more detailed approach towards putting these essentials into practice and details of other associated features of the Policy are spelt out in the following paragraphs.
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