Aimed at enhancing the country's exploration capacity, the recent decision by the Mines Ministry is likely to spur the slow exploration work that has been holding back the potential of the sector.
     
Mining exploration work is currently being done mainly by GSI, Mineral Exploration Corporation (MECL), Atomic Mineral Directorate of Exploration, Department of Atomic Energy and State Directorates of Mining.

Not satisfied with their performance, the government has decided to include more entities in the exploration work such as NMDC, SAIL and MOIL. The move will help the country tap the potential in this area more efficiently, said a senior mines ministry official.

The Mines Ordinance, promulgated last month, has provided for allowing firms which are notified for this purpose by the central government. It said however that these organisations will not have other rights whatsoever on the mines.

Besides, in order to encourage foreign companies in the exploration activity, the government through the ordinance has also allowed granting of non-exclusive reconnaissance permits to companies interested in exploration.
     
To facilitate exploration work in the country, government has also proposed to establish a National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) to facilitate exploration work. The funding for the trust has been proposed in the Ordinance to come from the leaseholders, who will pay an amount equivalent to 2 percent of the royalty.
     
NMET would be used for carrying out regional as well as wide-spread exploration work.