Canada and Australia spend maximum on mineral exploration with 19% and 12% respectively of global share
Despite being a mineral rich country, India’s share in global exploration budget has been less than 0.5% which might explain the fact the country’s proven reserves are only 5-10% of the total resources.
Canada and Australia are the top countries who spend maximum on mineral exploration with 19% and 12% respectively of the global share.
Exploration of minerals, except petroleum, has been primarily constrained by funding crunch, which is why unproven resources in India are more than twice the proven reserves.
For instance, India has gold resources of 490 million tonnes but only 17% of it has been explored and marked as reserves. Similarly for coal, out of total resources of 280 billion tonne, 40% are available as reserves and for iron ore with 25 billion resources, 28% are reserves. India produces about 87 minerals.
A senior official from GSI says the government funding is inadequate for carrying out exploration on a large scale. Despite that, we are in the process of modernising land, aerial and marine survey systems with the acquisition of the latest technology.
To train scientists in the latest techniques of exploration, the ministry of mines is close to signing an agreement with Geoscience Australia. “We will send three geologists from GSI next year for on project training for deep seated minerals. They have agreed to train our people. Australia and Canada have the best exploration technology,” a senior ministry official said.
Geological Survey of India (GSI) is the principal agency for locating or identification of new mineral deposits in the country with a mandate to explore (through ground, airborne, satellite and marine surveys) and scientifically assesses mineral and energy resources.
According to a senior analyst, there are many infrastructure and regulatory challenges in the mining industry which need to be addressed before fully realizing the potential of the sector. Kameswara Rao, leader, power and mining, PwC India says Indian mining industry is consumed locally mostly, while in other countries such as Canada and Australia, the mining industry is export oriented which is why more efforts on exploration.
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