Odisha to set up mineral exploration corporation

Bhubaneswar, Jan 15 (IANS) The Odisha government on Friday discussed the modalities of setting up the Odisha Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (OMECL) to streamline the process of mining in the state.

An inter-departmental meeting headed by Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi deliberated on the structure and functioning of the proposed corporation.

The objectives of the corporation, modalities for its formation, scope of work, staffing and funding were discussed in the meeting, said an official statement.

The formation of OMECL will be done in accordance with the new Odisha Mineral Exploration policy-2015 approved by the state government in July last year with the objective of realising the mining sector’s potential though scientific exploration of mineral resources.

It was decided that the corporation would be a subsidiary of the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC), the statement said.

Padhi suggested that since the proposed corporation would principally be a promotional agency, some revenue earning provisions be incorporated in it from the beginning.

Accordingly, it was decided that the corporation could extend the services of scientific exploration and analysis to other states and agencies on payment basis.

Steel and Mines Secretary R.K. Sharma said that the corporation was needed for identification of new mines and minerals in the state.

Available data shows that Odisha has around 700 sq km of virgin and freehold area that is supposed to have deposits of asbestos, bauxite, china clay, cobalt, chromites, fireclay, graphite, limestone, manganese, mineral sand, nickel, platinum group materials (PGM), tin ore and vanadium, apart from coal and iron ore.

Explored mines account for around seven percent of the Gross Domestic Product of the state. The vast reserves of minerals have substantial scope for enhanced contribution to the state’s GDP, the statement added.

The mining potential of this 700 sq km unexplored area needs scientific exploration activities. About 50 lakh metres of core drilling has to be done in this exercise, Sharma said.

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