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Centre Encouraging Mineral Exploration In NE: Minister

"The Ministry of Mines is making continuous efforts to encourage mining activities pan India. Accordingly, to further encourage exploration activities in the mineral-rich northeast region, the first such conclave was held in Nagaland," Pralhad Joshi said.

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CM Pushkar Singh Dhami with Union Minister Pralhad Joshi and state BJP President Madan Kaushik
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Union Minister Pralhad Joshi said that the Centre is making efforts to ensure that mineral resources are properly exploited in the northeast for the benefit of the region. He stated that the Union government is also examining the environmental implications of coal and oil exploration in the northeast.

Talking to media persons on Monday in Chumoukedima district of Nagaland after the day-long 'Northeast Geology & Mining Ministers Conclave', he said that efforts to encourage quarrying activities were being made across the country.

"The Ministry of Mines is making continuous efforts to encourage mining activities pan India. Accordingly, to further encourage exploration activities in the mineral-rich northeast region, the first such conclave was held in Nagaland," he said.

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"The Centre is also keenly examining the environmental implications of coal and oil exploration in the region," the Union Mines and Coal maintained. Joshi said that the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has taken up 108 projects in the northeast on different mineral commodities in the last five years.

The government is also funding projects through National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET), he said, adding that a joint working group has been constituted by Ministry of Mines for different states to resolve issues related to the process of auctioning.
 

"The establishment of resources and their successful auctioning will bring economic prosperity through revenue augmentation, employment generation, industry influx, which will further lead to overall growth and development of the northeast. The successful auctioning of the blocks can also act as a catalyst to bring other financing sources to the region," he pointed out.

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Assuring the region of complete support, Joshi further said that the ministry, through GSI and Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), can organise training programmes for state geologists and other functionaries for their capacity building.

Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Mines Sanjay Lohiya stated that the Centre is focused on increasing the pace of exploration of minerals in the country. Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio hoped that this conclave will open a new chapter in the history of mineral exploration in the region.

He said that the "visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and dynamic leadership of Union Mines and Coal minister, has brought about major reforms in the mining sector" of the country.

Expressing concern that the northeastern states are yet to make a mark in the mineral block auction, he said "such issues need to be addressed". Nagaland, besides oil and natural gas, has economically viable resources such as coal, limestone (cement and chemical grade) and multi-metal magnetite, the CM said.

The state has not been able to exploit the resources due to rugged terrain, remote locations that do not have sufficient connectivity, land ownership systems and other factors, apart from prolonged non-settlement of the Naga political issue, Rio pointed out.

"These factors have inhibited the proactive participation of exploration and extraction agencies in the state," he lamented. Among others, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also attended the conclave. 

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(With PTI Inputs)

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