Global Natural Resources Conclave Day 2: Aerial mapping of India’s natural resources to begin soon
The government is set to begin aerial mapping of 800,000 square kilometres of area with geological potential to scout for natural resources and transform it into a business opportunity for India’s growth story. This is a first-of-its-kind initiative as prior to this, no aerial mapping of land had been done in the country to find out the geological potential of its underground products (UGPs).
Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines, Piyush Goyal on Thursday said that the government would initiate the process of aerial mapping of 800,000 square kilometres out of India’s total area of 3.3 million square kilometres of land mass in a day or two. The government expects to complete the exercise within a period of two-and-a-half years and put up the data of its findings for exploration of mineral resources.
“We have determined around 800,000 square kilometres with obvious geological potential — the UGP areas. Either today or tomorrow, aerial mapping will begin and over the next two-and-a-half years, we hope to complete the process. The entire 800,000 square kilometres of India’s geological potential area will be mapped aerially to get a fair idea of the locations which can be further explored,” Goyal said while addressing the second day of the two-day Global Natural Resources Conclave organised jointly by Network 18 and CII.
Natural resources exploration: A part of India’s growth story
The Ministry for Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines wants to convert the findings of the mapping exercise into a tangible business opportunity through the exploration of natural resources that can be a part of India’s growth story. “After the mapping of the specific area, we’ll give out contracts for exploration in those particular locations. I would urge companies across the world to look at the contracts. One will be paid for whatever one spends on exploration, along with a potential upside. If minerals are found from the efforts to explore the piece of land, there is a significant upside being offered along with these contracts,” explained Goyal.
The ministry will put all of the exploration data in the public domain and invite entrepreneurs and companies from India and across the world to be a part of this growth story. “The natural resource wealth of this country will go on to serve the people of India, the poor who’s at the bottom of the pyramid,” he added
Government focuses on India’s eastern belt
Simultaneously, the Narendra Modi government wants to focus its attention on the eastern belt of India, which has rich natural resources.
“As the prime minister often says unless the eastern part of the country progresses, the country can’t progress. Jharkhand, West Bengal, Odisha, Chhattisgarh — largely the eastern part of India is blessed with rich mineral resources. We are making a focussed and concerted effort to bring it out and we want all the stakeholders in this sector to make the exploration activities faster. The GDP of India comprises 2.4 percent of mineral wealth. The need is to double this potential by expanding the frontiers of mining efficiently and effectively so that the next generation can see a far more developed India,” added Goyal.