The Two day National Conclave on Mines & Minerals Concluded in Raipur with the closing session chaired by Shri Balvinder Kumar, Secretary, Mines. The session was initiated with the summary comments of Shri R. Sridharan, Additional Secretary, Mines who said that the National Conclave was a resounding success. He said the Minister of Mines & Steel and Secretary, Mines in the opening session had summarized the situation that mineral sector had found itself two years back and the changes that have been initiated then on. Two years back the mineral sector was in grim situation and there was a possibility of complete breakdown and now the situation has reversed. The proof of concept of the restructured framework of allocation of mineral concession in terms of viability and feasibility has been well displayed by the successful auction of mines. With the promulgation of NMEP the restructuring process can be considered to be concluded and now a smooth implementation process has to be ensured. The results of NMEP are expected to flow in over time and there are no quick fix solutions to exploration. He further said that the Finance Minister in his speech took some time to explain the rationale of the decision which the Govt. had taken regarding ensuring transparency, certainty and removal of unfettered discretion.
Ms. Aruna Sundararajan, Secretary, Steel delivered a speech on the conclave outcomes. She said that the conclave has been held at the inflexion point for the mineral industry as it a point of change in framework and also at a point of change in global commodity market. She said the Ministry of Mines and Ministry of Steel have crucial role to play for maintaining and accelerating the growth of the national GDP. Significantly the growth of this sector also would result in the growth in geographically the heartland of the country which happens to be mineral rich. These two significant facts need to be kept in mind by both the planners and the industry. The policies need to be framed with a judicious mix of the compulsions of growth, revenue and environment.
Shri Balvinder Kumar, Secretary, Mines summarized the issues and challenges which have been deliberated and needs to be addressed by the Ministry and also the industry. He expressed great satisfaction on the organization and outcome of the conclave and thanked both the organizers and the delegates for the conclave and the vibrant discussions. He expressed satisfaction that the participation of over seven hundred in the conclave is almost double of the expectations. He said the ministry plans to organize such conclave at a regular interval of 6 months or a year to continue discussing and deliberating with the industry on all issues. The mineral industry is going through a transitional and transformational phase. The industry is moving from one regulatory framework to another and on account of this many challenges are being faced by the industry and the ministry. Auctioning process have started and seven blocks have been auctioned and NITs of additional 32 blocks have been floated. 30-40 more blocks are being prepared by the States for auctioning. GSI has identified 100 blocks of about 100 sq. km each for regional exploration where Private sector, JVs, PSUs and DGMs may take up exploration using the model proposed by the NMEP. Exploration reports are being digitized, MoD has relaxed restriction for sharing of data in public domain, MoEFCC is revising guidelines for facilitating mineral exploration, aerogeophysical survey of OGP area and subsequently the whole has been initiated, detection of illegal mining through remote sensing, star rating of mines to ensure compliance to sustainable development and many other such initiatives are being taken by the Ministry of Mines. The star rating awards were presented during the conclave to 19 mines and Shri Kumar requested that the industry need to take star rating as a self-propelled activity and the ministry will not be enforcing but will implement this on the basis of self-certification and third party certification with minimum role of IBM. He said the Atomic Minerals concession rules have been released and rules for offshore exploration are being framed for which number of comments have been received during the conclave and will be duly considered. He concluded with a request to the industry for a) taking up star rating with due diligence, b) participate in exploration, and c) through Swachch Bharat abhiyan some villages may be converted to open defecation free villages. He requested the state governments to implement collection and utilization of DMF funds.
The session ended with a vote of thanks by Shri S K Singh, Secretary, Dept of Commerce and Industries, Govt. of Chhattisgarh.