Indian mineral exploration policy and reality divergence

Date: Sep 13, 2018

The Indian government’s ostensible policy is to double mineral exploration every year with participation of domestic and foreign private players, but foreign participation in domestic non-coal mineral exploration is on a downtrend.

“We are preparing a document for increasing the participation of the private sector in mineral exploration and even allocate money for certain sectors of private mineral exploration,” joint secretary in the Mines Ministry, Bipul Pathak, said in a recent statement.

“In my opinion mineral exploration should double every year as there is a limit to what the government can do,” he said.

“To increase exploration the private sector has to come in and that is the only way. The government is trying every level of private participation, mineral majors and junior companies from all over the world to come to India,” Pathak said.

The official was referring to the Mines Ministry working on a new mineral policy expected to be unveiled within the next two months with a focus on mineral exploration by the private sector.

However, despite the optimism over policy initiatives, the reality is that during 2017/18, foreign direct investments (FDI) in the Indian mining industry fell to lowest level in recent years at a mere $36-million down from a peak of $659-million touched in 2014/15.

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