Bhubaneswar: The Mines Ministry has adopted a scheme for accreditation of private exploration agencies to undertake prospecting operations of minerals.
According to an official statement issued by the Ministry, the National Accreditation Board for Education and Training of the Quality Council of India (QCI-NABET) will grant accreditation to private exploration agencies for undertaking prospecting operations of minerals in accordance with the standards and procedures of the scheme.
The interested private exploration agencies will have to obtain accreditation in accordance with the scheme and thereafter apply to the Ministry for their notification under the second proviso to sub-section (1) of section 4 of the MMDR Act.
The Ministry has also issued guidelines for the considering the exploration agencies for notification containing detailed procedure, terms and conditions for the same.
The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, (MMDR Act) was recently amended through the MMDR Amendment Act, 2021, with effect from March 28, 2021.
It empowers the Centre to notify entities, including private entities that may undertake prospecting operations, subject to such terms and conditions as may be specified by the Centre.
“With the view to increase the pace of exploration in the country and to bring advanced technology in the exploration of minerals, it has been decided to notify private exploration agencies to undertake prospecting operations under the second proviso to Section 4(1) of the MMDR Act,” it Ministry said.
At present, only Government agencies are involved in exploration and the pace of exploration is limited by their capacity. The present step of the Government is a major regulatory reform in the mineral sector aimed to unleash the economic potential of the sector by bringing more agencies in the exploration of minerals.
This move will increase the pace of exploration, create new employment opportunities in the sector and bring more explored blocks for auction, the statement said.
The scheme will also help in encouraging new entrepreneurs in the field of exploration and bringing the latest technology and expertise to the sector, it said.