In News: The Bihar government has decided to accord permission for exploration of the “country’s largest” gold reserve in Jamui district
- As per a Geological Survey of India (GSI) survey, around 88 million tonnes of gold reserve, including 37.6 tonnes of mineral-rich ore, are present in Jamui district.
- GSI findings indicated the presence of gold in areas such as Karmatia, Jhajha and Sono in Jamui district
Gold reserve in India
- As per National Mineral Inventory data, the total reserves/resources of gold ore (primary) in the country have been estimated at 501.83 million tonnes as of 2015
- The largest reserves of gold ores are located in Bihar (44 per cent), followed by Rajasthan (25 per cent), Karnataka (21 per cent), West Bengal (3 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (3 per cent), Jharkhand (2 per cent).
- The remaining 2 per cent reserves are in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
- The Geological Survey of India (GSI) is actively engaged in geological mapping, followed by mineral exploration and surveys, of various mineral commodities with an aim to identify potential mineral rich zones and establish resources.
Geological Survey of India
- The GSI is a government organisation in India, attached to the Ministry of Mines for conducting geological surveys and studies.
- It is one of the premier organisations of earth science survey and research in the world.
- The GSI was established in 1851 and is one of the oldest of such organisations in the world and the second oldest survey institution in the country.
- It is the prime provider of basic earth science information to the government, industry and the general public.
- Its main function is related to creation and updation of national geoscientific information and mineral resource assessment.
Mining in India
- MMDR (Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 regulates the overall mining sector in India
Categories of minerals:
As per the available legislations in the country, all minerals have been classified into two categories namely.
- Major minerals: major minerals are minerals like agate, asbestos, barytes, bauxite, cadmium, calcite, china clay, coal. Copper lead, manganese, mica, nickel, rock phosphate, soapstone, tungsten, wollastonite, zinc, etc., as specified in second schedule appended with the mmdr act 1957.
- Minor minerals: the minor mineral are building stone, gravel, ordinary clay, ordinary sand and any other mineral which the central government may by notification in the official gazette declare as minor mineral.
- The MMDR Amendment Act of 2015 introduces Mineral Concessions Grant through auctions to bring transparency and remove discretion; The District Mineral Foundation (DMF) to address the longtime grievance of the people affected by mining; and the National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) for incentivizing regional and detailed exploration to fill the gaps in exploration in the country, and stringent measures to check illegal mining.
How are Minerals regulated in India?
Ownership of Mineral:
- The State Governments are the owners of minerals located within the boundary of the State concerned.
- District Mineral Foundations are statutory bodies in India established by the State Governments by notification. They derive their legal status from Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957
- The objective of District Mineral Foundation is to work for the interest of the benefit of the persons and areas affected mining related operations in such manner as may be prescribed by the State Government.
- The Central Government is the owner of the minerals underlying the ocean within the territorial waters or the Exclusive Economic Zone of India.
Granting Mineral Concessions:
- The State Governments grant mineral concessions for all the minerals located within the boundary of the State, under the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and Mineral Concession Rules, 1960.
- However, for minerals specified in the First Schedule to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 approval of the Central Government is necessary. Schedule I contains minerals such as coal and lignite, minerals of the “rare earths” group containing Uranium and Thorium.
- Also, the Central Government notifies certain minerals as ‘minor’ minerals from time to time for which the absolute powers for deciding on procedures of seeking applications for and granting mineral concessions, fixing rates of royalty, dead rent, and power to revise orders rest only with the State Government.
Previous Year Questions (PYQs)
Q.1) With reference to the mineral resources of India, consider the following pairs: (2010)
Mineral 90% Natural sources in
- Copper: Jharkhand
- Nickel: Orissa
- Tungsten: Kerala
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
Q.2) Consider the following minerals: (2020)
In India, which of the above is/are officially designated as major minerals?
- 1 and 2 only
- 4 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 2, 3 and 4 only
Source: The Hindu