The Mines Ministry is gearing up for interaction with the industry on a slew of issues facing the sector, including policies related to the extraction of offshore and atomic minerals.
The ministry is organising a national mining conclave next month, in Raipur (Chhattisgarh).
“Conclave will see deliberations between the government and the industry on challenges and opportunities in the mining sector. The issues that will be discussed include Offshore Mineral Policy, Atomic minerals Policy and National Mineral Exploration Policy,” a senior government official said.
The scenario regarding the availability and of raw materials for the steel industry will also come up for deliberations, he added.
The government is in the process of framing regulations for exploration and mining in offshore blocks, which contain minerals such as zirconium, titanium, thorium, tungsten and rare earth elements.
The ministry has set up a committee that is framing the rules under the Offshore Development and Regulation Act.
As per government data, a total of 62 blocks have been identified in the offshore areas of Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Heavy mineral sands is an important source of zirconium, titanium, thorium, tungsten, rare earth elements as well as industrial minerals such as diamond, sapphire and garnet.
Regarding atomic Minerals, the government has floated the draft paper, Atomic Minerals Concession Rules 2016, inviting comments on allowing the states to auction atomic minerals which have radioactive content below a threshold limit.
As per the draft, leases of existing operators will be terminated if they are not government organisations in case the Threshold Limit Value (TLVs) exceed norms, which has been protested by the beach sand mining industry in the country.
Beach sand mining generally includes ilmenite, rutile, zircon, garnet, monazite, leucoxene and sillimanite. Most of these minerals occur together, their individual contents varying from deposit to deposit, with the major mineral in most deposits being ilmenite.