Last Updated: 29/11/2004

 

National Mineral Policy, 1993
( For non - fuel and non - atomic minerals )


PREAMBLE

REGULATION OF MINERALS

OBJECTIVES

ROLE OF THE STATE IN MINERAL DEVELOPMENT

SURVEY AND EXPLORATION

NATIONAL INVENTORY OF MINERAL RESOURCES

STRATEGY OF MINERAL DEVELOPMENT

FOREIGN TRADE

FISCAL ASPECTS

RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

CONCLUSIONS

1. PREAMBLE

1.1. Minerals are valuable natural resources being finite and non-renewable. They constitute the vital raw materials for many basic industries and are a major resource for development. Management of mineral resources has, therefore, to be closely integrated with the overall strategy of development; and exploitation of minerals is to be guided by long-term national goals and perspectives. In this context the need has been felt to spell out in a statement the different elements of the policy, which has evolved over the years, relating to development of our mineral resources and in regard to areas of concern which have emerged in recent years.

1.2. The country is not endowed with all the requisite mineral resources. It is, therefore, imperative to achieve the best use of available mineral resources through scientific methods of mining, beneficiation and economic utilisation. Simultaneously, it is essential to keep in view the present and future needs of defence and development of the country and strive to ensure indigenous availability of basic and strategic minerals to avoid disruption of core industrial production in times of international strife.

1.3. These aspects constitute the essentials of National Mineral Policy which has evolved over the years. The policy also emphasises certain new aspects and elements like mineral exploration in the sea-bed, development of proper inventory, proper linkage between exploitation of minerals and development of mineral industry, preference to members of the Scheduled Tribes for development of small deposits in Scheduled Areas, protection of forest, environment and ecology from the adverse effects of mining, enforcement of mining plan for adoption of proper mining methods and optimum utilisation of minerals, export of minerals in value added form and recycling of metallic scrap and mineral waste.

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2. REGULATION OF MINERALS

2.1. Management of mineral resources is the responsibility of the Central Government and the State Governments in terms of Entry 54 of the Union List (List I) and Entry 23 of the State List (List II) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India. The Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 lays down the legal frame-work for the regulation of mines and development of all minerals other than petroleum and natural gas. The Central Government have framed the Mineral Concession Rules 1960 for regulating grant of prospecting licences and mining leases in respect of all minerals other than atomic minerals and minor minerals. The State Governments have framed the rules in regard to minor minerals. The Central Government have also framed the Mineral Conservation and Development Rules, 1988 for conservation and systematic development of minerals. These are applicable to all minerals except coal, atomic minerals and minor minerals.

2.2. The Central Government in consultation with the State Governments, shall continue to formulate the legal measures for the regulation of mines and the development of mineral resources to ensure basic uniformity in mineral administration and to ensure that the development of mineral resources keeps pace, and is in consonance with the national policy goals. The regulation of mines and development of mineral resources in accordance with the national goals and priorities shall be the responsibility of the Central and State Governments.

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3. OBJECTIVES

The basic objectives of the mineral policy in respect of minerals shall be as follows:

(a) to explore for identification of mineral wealth in the land and in off-shore areas;

(b) to develop mineral resources taking into account the national and strategic considerations and to ensure their adequate supply and best use keeping in view the present needs and future requirements;

(c) to promote necessary linkages for smooth and uninterrupted development of the mineral industry to meet the needs of the country;

(d) to promote research and development in minerals;

(e) to ensure establishment of appropriate educational and training facilities for human resources development to meet the manpower requirements of the mineral industry;

(f) to minimise adverse effects of mineral development on the forest, environment and ecology through appropriate protective measures; and

(g) to ensure conduct of mining operations with due regard to safety and health of all concerned.

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4. ROLE OF THE STATE IN MINERAL DEVELOPMENT

The role to be played by the Central and State Governments in regard to mineral development has been extensively dealt in the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act, 1957 and rules made under the Act by the Central Government and the State Governments in their respective domains. The provisions of the Act and the Rules will be reviewed from time to time and harmonised with the policies governing industrial and socio-economic developments in the country.

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5. SURVEY AND EXPLORATION

5.1. The Geological Survey of India is the principal agency for geological mapping and regional mineral resources assessment of the country and its exclusive economic zone and shall be responsible for drawing up action oriented plans in close co-operation with all other agencies engaged in this task. The Department of Ocean Development and its agencies are entrusted with the task of sea-bed exploration, exploitation, mining and processing. These call for multi-disciplinary approach. Detailed survey and exploration on land is done by Mineral Exploration Corporation, Directorates of Mining and Geology of the State Governments and various Central and State Public Sector Organisations. The initiative and co-operation of the private sector will also be drawn upon as required.

5.2. In conducting exploration for minerals special attention will be given to the development of strategic minerals through systematic investigation of various potential sources of their supply.

5.3. Particular attention will be given to the survey and exploration of minerals in which the country has poor or just adequate resource base. Exploration for noble metals and minerals for electronic and other high-tech industries will receive due attention.

5.4. Co-ordination of the exploration work is at present being done by the Central Programming Board of the Geological Survey of India. Policy parameters are generally discussed in the State Ministers Conference, Planning Commission and the Mineral Advisory Council. The existing arrangement shall be reviewed periodically with a view to bringing about co-ordination among the survey and exploration agencies and to ensure planned mineral development.

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6. NATIONAL INVENTORY OF MINERAL RESOURCES

6.1. The national inventory of mineral resources including those of ocean bed will be based on a comprehensive review of exploration data. These along with the relevant geological data and mineral maps shall be maintained and updated from time to time by the Indian Bureau of Mines as per the uses and specifications in industrial and other applications. The Indian Bureau of Mines shall continue to compile and provide access to the latest information in respect of mineral resources in the country available for exploitation and endeavour to convert the physical inventory of mineral resources into resource inventory. A periodical review of the system of classification of inventory of mineral resources shall be carried out incorporating the changes in their industrial and other applications. The grades of various minerals shall be standardised with reference to end use applications and periodically reviewed.

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7. STRATEGY OF MINERAL DEVELOPMENT

7.1. Conservation and Mineral Development

7.1.1. The Strategy for development of any mineral should naturally keep in view its ultimate end uses. The guiding principle in the strategy of development of any mineral or mineral deposit at any location shall ordinarily be the economic cost. The State may, however, undertake the development of any mineral or mineral deposit in public interest to ensure unhindered availability of mineral raw material for the realisation of national goals.

7.1.2. As minerals are exhaustible and non-renewable resources, their exploitation has to be done keeping in view not only the present but the long term needs. The strategy for exploitation and development of each mineral shall be formulated and reviewed periodically on the basis of available resources. A thrust is to be given to exploitation of mineral resources in which the country is well endowed so that industries based on these resources can come up to meet the needs of industrial materials for which we have now to depend on external sources. An optimal depletion rate shall be worked out in respect of each mineral, keeping in view the domestic and global resource position, the international market situation and the needs for stable and sustained economic development.

7.1.3. The best use of available mineral resources shall be ensured by adopting, during mining operation, effective measures for conservation and beneficiation, recovery of associated minerals and later by efficient processing of minerals. There shall be adequate and effective legal and institutional framework and commitment to prevent sub-optimal and unscientific mining.

7.1.4. Conservation of minerals shall be construed not in the restrictive sense of abstinence from consumption or preservation for future use, but as a positive concept leading to augmentation of resource base through improvement in mining methods, beneficiation and utilisation of low grade ore and rejects, recovery of associated minerals, reduction in the requirements of minerals per unit of material output, etc.

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7.2. Scientific Methods of Exploitation

Mine development and mineral conservation as governed by the rules and regulations will be on sound scientific basis, with the regulatory agencies closely interacting with R&D organisation, scientific and professional bodies. Conditions of mining leases regarding tenure, size, shape, disposition with reference to geological boundaries and other mining conditions shall be such as to favourably predispose the leased areas to systematic and complete extraction of minerals.

7.3. Productivity Norms

Studies for fixation of productivity norms and goals will be taken up to promote productivity of men, machines and to improve the consumption norms of fuel and materials. Regular maintenance, replacement and upgradation of mining machinery and equipment shall be undertaken.

7.4. Mineral Processing and Beneficiation

Research organisations, including the National Mineral Processing Laboratories of the Indian Bureau of Mines should be strengthened for development of processes for beneficiation and mineral and elemental analysis of ores and ore dressing products. There shall be co-operation between and co-ordination among all organisations in public and private sector engaged in this task.

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7.5. Recycling of Metallic Scrap and Mineral Wastes

As an important conservation measure, recycling of metallic scrap like steel, copper, aluminium, zinc, lead etc. shall be encouraged and facilitated by fixation of appropriate standards for classification and grading of scrap and adoption of fiscal measures. Similarly, utilisation of low grade minerals, mineral wastes and rejects shall also be encouraged through appropriate incentives.

7.6. Mining Equipment and Machinery

Indigenous industry for manufacture of mining equipment and machinery shall be strengthened. Wherever necessary, imports of machinery and equipment may be permitted to improve the efficiency, productivity and economics of mining operations and safety and health of persons in the mines and the surrounding areas.

7.7. Manpower Development

Existing facilities for basic and specialised training shall be constantly reviewed and upgraded from time to time to ensure that adequately trained manpower at all levels is available for the development of mines and minerals industries.

In order to improve the competitive edge of the national mining industry, emphasis shall be laid on mechanisation, computerisation and automation of the existing and new mining units. The manpower development programme shall be suitably reoriented for the purpose.

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7.8. Linkages

Development of mineral resources and their utilisation in the end products have distinct stages which are closely interlinked. Failure in the performance at any one stage eventually affects both the mining and the mineral industry and the units dependent on it. The mineral processing unit should not only get an assured supply of the mineral raw material but should also have close links with the production and marketing agencies of the mineral based end products.

7.9 Dissemination of Information on Technological Changes

Information about technological changes leading to substitution of the mineral or the products made out of such a mineral shall be compiled and disseminated from time to time to enable the mineral industry to adapt itself. A close linkage shall be established between the changes taking place in material science, product character and the availability of mineral resources.

7.10. Infrastructural Facilities & Regional Development

Mineral deposits generally occur in remote and backward areas with poor infrastructural facilities which often inhibit their optimum development. Mineral bearing areas are also often inhabited by tribal population and exploitation of mineral resources has not always contributed adequately to their economic development. Contribution of mineral development to overall regional development has also not always been commensurate with the huge investment in large mining projects. A major thrust needs to be given for development of infrastructural facilities in mineral bearing areas following an integrated approach for mineral development, regional development and also social and economic upliftment of the local population including tribal population.

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7.11. Financial Support for Mining

Mining is an eligible activity for obtaining financial support from financial institutions. So far mining projects which have a substantial component of mining machinery, equipment and buildings have been financed. Steps shall be taken to facilitate the financing of mine development and also of exploration integral to the mining project.

Induction of foreign technology and foreign participation in exploration and mining for high value and scarce minerals shall be pursued. Foreign equity investment in joint ventures in mining promoted by Indian Companies would be encouraged. While foreign investment in equity would normally be limited to 50%, this limitation would not apply to captive mines of any mineral processing industry. Enhanced equity holding can also be considered on case to case basis.

In respect of joint venture mining projects of minerals and metals in which the country is deficient or does not have exportable surplus, a stipulated share of production would have to be made available to meet the needs of the domestic market before exports from such projects are allowed. In case of ores whose known reserves are not abundant, preference will be given to those who propose to take up their mining for captive use.

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7.12. Small Deposits

Small and isolated deposits of minerals are scattered all over the country. These often lend themselves to economic exploitation through small scale mining. With modest demand on capital expenditure and short lead-time, they also provide employment opportunities for the local population. Efforts will be made to promote small scale mining of small deposits in a scientific and efficient manner while safeguarding vital environmental and ecological imperatives. In grant of mineral concessions for small deposits in Scheduled Areas, preference shall be given to the Scheduled Tribes.

7.13. Mineral Development & Protection of Environment

7.13.1 Extraction and development of minerals are closely interlinked with other natural resources like land, water, air and forest. The areas in which minerals occur often have other resources presenting a choice of utilisation of the resources. Some such areas are ecologically fragile and some are biologically rich. It is necessary to take comprehensive view to facilitate the choice or order of land use keeping in view the needs of development as well as needs of protecting the forests, environment and ecology. Both aspects have to be properly coordinated to facilitate and ensure a sustainable development of mineral resources in harmony with environment.

7.13.2 Mining activity often leads to environmental problems like land degradation particularly in opencast mining, land subsidence in underground mining, deforestation, atmospheric pollution, pollution of rivers and streams, disposal of solid wastes, etc. affecting the ecological balance of the area. Open-cast mining in areas with actual forest cover leads to deforestation. Prevention and mitigation of adverse environmental effects due to mining and processing of minerals and repairing and revegetation of the affected forest area and land covered by trees in accordance with the prescribed norms and established forestry practices shall form integral part of mine development strategy in every instance.

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Mining operations shall not ordinarily be taken up in identified ecologically fragile and biologically rich areas. Strip mining in forest areas should as far as possible be avoided and it should be permitted only when accompanied with comprehensive time-bound reclamation programme.

No mining lease would be granted to any party, private or public, without a proper mining plan including the environmental management plan approved and enforced by statutory authorities. The environmental management plan should adequately provide for controlling the environmental damage, restoration of mined areas and for planting of trees according to the prescribed norms. As far as possible, reclamation and afforestation will proceed concurrently with mineral extraction.

7.13.3 Efforts would be made to convert old disused mining sites into forests and other appropriate forms of land use.

7.14. Mines Safety

Mining operations are hazardous in nature. Accidents happen and often result in the loss of life or limb of persons engaged in it. Efforts must be directed towards the development and adoption of mining methods which would increase the safety of workers and reduce the accidents. Towards this end, participation and co-operation of mine workers shall be secured. Steps will also be taken to minimise the adverse impact of mining on the health of workers and the surrounding population.

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7.15. Rehabilitation of Mines Closures

Mineral deposits being exhaustible, once the process of economical extraction of a mine is complete, there is need for its closure. Especially where the mining activities have been spread over a few decades, mining communities get established and closure of the mine means not only loss of jobs but also disruption of community life. Whenever mine closure becomes necessary, it should be orderly and systematic and so planned as to help the workers and the dependent community rehabilitate themselves without undue hardship.

7.16. Rehabilitation of Displaced Persons

Mining operations often involve acquisition of land held by individuals including those belonging to the weaker sections. While compensation is generally paid to the owner for the acquisition of his land, efforts shall be made to ensure suitable rehabilitation of affected persons especially those belonging to the weaker sections who are likely to be deprived of their means of livelihood as a result of such acquisition.

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8. FOREIGN TRADE

Minerals continue to be an important source of foreign exchange earnings. The policy of export shall keep in view the mineral inventory position and the long term needs of the country. Efforts shall be made to export minerals in value added form as far as possible. Whenever it becomes necessary to export minerals and ores the strategy shall be to make such exports competitive. The indigenous mineral industry shall be attuned to the international economic situation in order to derive maximum advantage from foreign trade by carefully anticipating technology and demand changes in the international market for minerals and metals.

The imports of mineral based material shall be co-ordinated as far as possible with the indigenous development of mineral based industries. Areas of co-operation with countries with complementary resource base shall be developed for mutual advantage. The basic approach shall be to make available to the mineral based materials to the domestic users at reasonable prices.

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9. FISCAL ASPECTS

Fiscal measures should be designed to promote mineral exploration and development including beneficiation. Minerals being non-renewable their prices should reflect their value. In the context of the changing mineral scenario and the economies of mineral development and products, both at the national and international level, necessary fiscal changes will be made from time to time consistent with the general tax structure.

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10. RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

10.1. Research and development in the mineral sector has to cover the entire gamut of activities from geological survey, exploration, mining, beneficiation, extraction of minerals to development of materials.

Efforts would be directed to the development of new technologies for conversion of existing mineral resources into viable economic resources. Appropriate technologies shall be developed to enable indigenous industries to utilise the mineral resources with which the country is abundantly endowed and as substitutes for minerals whose reserves are poor. R&D efforts shall be directed to find new and alternative uses for minerals whose traditional demand is on the wane.

Indigenous technology has to be upgraded through research and appropriate absorption and adoption of technological innovations abroad. Research and development efforts shall be made to improve efficiency in process, operations and also the recovery of by-products and reduction in specification and consumption norms. Efforts will also be directed to evolve low capital and energy saving processing systems.

10.2. Research In Mining Methods

Mining methods determine the safety, economy, speed and the percentage of extraction of the ore reserves from a mine. Research and development thrust shall be directed specially in the areas of rock mechanics, ground control, mine design engineering, equipment deployment and maintenance, energy conservation, environmental protection, safety of operations and human engineering.

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10.3. Development Of Automated Equipment

To meet the objective of safety and economic production attention will be given to the development of robotics, automated equipment and system for mining, especially for deep mining and transportation to surface.

10.4. Deep Sea Mining

India is a pioneer investor and has been allocated a mine site of 150,000 square kilometres in Indian Ocean for exclusive survey and exploration. Deep ocean resources represent an exceptionally large and potentially important mineral resource. Integrated systems for exploration, exploitation, mining and processing of these resources shall be expedited with the development/acquisition of necessary technologies. Appropriate mechanism for coordinating the survey and exploration of Deep Sea Bed Area will be established by the Department of Ocean Development.

10.5. Production Of Materials Of High Purity

Research will be directed towards raw materials required for production of materials of high purity for use in advanced technology applications such as semi-conductors, photo-voltaics, lasers, special sensors, high temperature new ceramics, hard and high temperature materials, superconductors, insulators, very thin films, glasses and liquid crystals and metal and mineral fibres.

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10.6. Research In Beneficiation & Agglomeration

Attention will be given to beneficiation and agglomeration techniques to bring lower grades and finer size material into use.

10.7. Utilisation Of Associated Minerals

Research and development shall be oriented to ensure maximum economic recovery of the associated minerals and valuable metals.

10.8. Co-ordination Of Research Organisations

Research and development activities in the mineral sector are carried out in the national laboratories, educational institutions and R&D units of public and private sector enterprises. Pooling of resources and expertise available in the various R&D Organisations is imperative to meet the challenges and to fulfil the tasks ahead in the mineral sector. Linkages and interaction between the various institutions engaged in R&D in the mineral sector shall be strengthened to derive the maximum benefit. Interchange of scientists between institutions shall be encouraged to accelerate the pace of interaction. It shall also be ensured that the research findings are made available to users expeditiously.

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11. CONCLUSIONS

Mineral wealth is finite and non-renewable. It is a major resource for development. The management of this precious resource and its optimal and economical use are matters of national importance. The success of the national mineral policy will depend largely on a national consensus to fulfil its underlying principles and objectives.

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