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NEW DELHI : In a push for India’s mineral security, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has delineated 100 geologically potential mineral blocks for auction.

The reports for these blocks will be handed over to the states on Wednesday, and it assumes significance given that the mineral sector contributes only 1.75% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), with India importing minerals worth 2.5 trillion annually.

“The MMDR Amendment Act, 2015, ushered in transparency in the allocation of mineral concessions in terms of prospecting licence and mining lease. In this continuous endeavour, the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, has been further liberalized in March 2021," the Union coal ministry said in a statement.

“The recent amendment is expected to increase employment and investment in the mining sector, increase revenue to states, increase production and time-bound operationalization of mines, maintain continuity in mining operations after change of lessee, increase the pace of exploration and auction of mineral resources," the statement said and added, “With this amendment, to realize the vision of ‘Atma-Nirbhar Bharat’, the GS I has delineated 100 geologically potential mineral blocks for auction."

The Union mines ministry has also adopted the scheme for accreditation of private exploration agencies for prospecting minerals. “Handing over of these 100 reports to the state governments will ensure continuous supply of minerals in the country and more revenue to the state governments by bringing more number of mineral blocks under auction," the statement said.

This comes against the backdrop of National Mineral Policy goals to increase mineral production by 200% in seven years. Of India’s obvious geological potential area of 0.571 million sq. km, only 10% has been explored.

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