June 18, 2024

The Ministry of Mines held a workshop on Offshore Mining at New Delhi today. The occasion was graced by Secretary, Ministry of Mines, Shri V.L. Kantha Rao; Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Dr. M. Ravichandran and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Mines, Shri Sanjay Lohiya. Officials from other Central Government Ministries and Departments and from various State Governments, Government organizations, PSUs, mining companies, potential bidders and members of industry associations also attended the workshop.

Secretary, Ministry of Mines Shri V.L. Kantha Rao, in his keynote address, emphasised on the importance of offshore mining in creating strategic advantage for the country by fuelling industrial growth, generating employment and providing energy security. He also assured the gathering that the future outlook of the offshore mining is positive and that the Ministry of Mines is undertaking various strategic initiatives for development of this nascent sector. He also encouraged start-ups and private companies for developing technology for undertaking offshore mining activities in India and highlighted that the Ministry of Mines and Ministry of Earth Sciences would facilitate funding for such initiatives. Further, he welcomed more suggestion and feedback from industry bodies on the draft rules to facilitate ease of doing business and for promoting development of offshore mining sector in India. He also urged the industry to start preparing and planning for participating in the upcoming auction and undertaking offshore mining activities.

Dr. M. Ravichandran, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences in his address emphasised on sustainable and environment friendly offshore mining development in India. He highlighted the importance of developing technology to harness the maritime potential of India and requested collaboration, knowledge sharing from industry stakeholders to make India a pioneer in offshore mining.  

Officials from Ministry of Mines gave an overview of the Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 2002 (OAMDR Act) and the draft rules which were placed in public domain for stakeholder consultation. The draft rules framed are available in the website of Ministry of Mines (mines.gov.in).  The Ministry also informed that some identified offshore mineral blocks in the Exclusive Economic Zone of India for mining lime-mud, polymetallic nodules (containing critical minerals like cobalt and nickel) and construction sand will be put up for auction soon.

During the workshop, sessions were conducted by experts from Geological Survey of India, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Directorate General of Hydrocarbon, National Institute of Oceanography, Goa and National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai. 

Domestic and international players also participated actively in the workshop and provided key insights into the technology available for offshore exploration and mining, industry expectations and suggestions. The workshop concluded with questions and answers session wherein Additional Secretary, Ministry of Mines addressed queries raised by various stakeholders who attended the workshop physically and virtually.

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