Ministry of Mines Current Affairs - 2019

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KABIL: Govt sets up Khanij Bidesh India Ltd to ensure supply of strategic minerals

Union Ministry of Mines has set up joint venture company namely Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. (KABIL) to ensure a consistent supply of critical and strategic minerals to Indian domestic market. This new company is mandated to ensure mineral security of the country and help in realizing the overall objective of import substitution.

About Khanij Bidesh India Ltd. (KABIL)

Ownership: It is JV of National Aluminium Company Ltd (Nalco), Hindustan Copper Ltd (HCL) and Mineral Exploration Company Ltd (MECL). The equity participation between NALCO, HCL and MECL is in ratio of 40:30:30.

Functions: (i) It will carry out identification, acquisition, exploration, development, mining and processing of strategic minerals overseas for commercial use and meeting country’s requirement of these minerals. (ii) Help in building partnerships with other mineral rich countries like Australia and those in South America and Africa, where Indian expertise in exploration and mineral processing will be mutually beneficial bringing about new economic opportunities.

Background

Strategic minerals play substantial role to play in development and security of the nation and play critical role in the development of the national economy. In India, there are twelve minerals identified as strategic minerals including Lithium, Cobalt, Tungsten, Vanadium, Nickel etc. India is having very low domestic resource bases of these strategic minerals and is highly dependent on imports to meet is supply demand. At present sourcing of strategic minerals is done by creating trading opportunities, G2G collaborations with producing countries or strategic acquisitions or investments in exploration and mining assets of these minerals in the source countries. However, it is major area of concern for India, since regular supply from foreign countries may be interrupted for obvious reasons such as changing the geopolitical situation or major foreign mineral producers forming cartels (similar to OPEC) to dictate the prices.

Way Ahead

In present geopolitical scenario, it is imperative on India to focus on adopting superior technology for recycling, exploring substitutes, retain and modernize stockpiling of strategic materials. It should also encourage R&D in this area. Moreover, supply of these strategic minerals should be secured through strategic acquisition of overseas mines by forming diplomatic ties and trade agreements to avoid supply disruptions.

Arunachal has 35% of India’s Graphite Deposits: GSI Report

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) in its report revealed that about 35 % of India’s total Graphite reserves is found in Arunachal Pradesh. This is the highest found in country.

Key findings of Report

  • About: The GSI presented the said data during its annual interactive meeting with the Department of Geology and Mining & Industries, Government of Arunachal Pradesh in Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh Capital).
  • Issue: At present India imports majority of Graphite from other countries.
  • Importance: With 35 % of India’s Graphite deposits being found in Arunachal Pradesh, the State could now be developed as leading producer of graphite in country thus helping in meeting its future needs.
  • Suggestions: The Arunachal Pradesh’s secretary of Department of Geology and Mining suggested that the survey and drilling activities of GSI should be moved towards India-China international Border.
  • As per the reports China is undertaking huge graphite mining activities across the border in Tibet Autonomous Region. Therefore, road and infrastructure development towards the (Sino-India) international border should act as a boon for exploration and extraction of mineral at the same time meeting India needs and reducing imports.
  • Note: of the total 3,488 km border India shares with China, Arunachal Pradesh shares 1,126 km.

About Geological Survey of India (GSI)

  • It was founded in 1851 with primarily goal of finding coal deposits for the Railways.
  • It is an attached office to the Ministry of Mines and it is Headquartered in Kolkata.
  • Function: To create and update national geoscientific information and mineral resource assessment.
  • Services Undertaken: The objectives of GSI are achieved through various surveys like marine, air-borne, ground, and also by mineral investigations. It also undertakes multi-disciplinary studies like geo-environmental, geoscientific, geo-technical, and natural hazards, and carrying out fundamental research.

About Graphite

  • It is the most stable allotrope of Carbon, with standard entropy being zero.
  • It is the only non-metal element which is a good conductor of electricity.
  • It is also known as a dry lubricant for its greasy feel.
  • It has many industrial applications, especially for products that need very high heat.