Fool’s gold: UP didn’t find gold; but top global miners could fix that

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According to Niti Aayog, even doubling the area explored to 20% of ‘obvious geological potential’ can create an additional 5 million jobs by 2022-23, from the current 10 million.

The story of Uttar Pradesh’s ‘find’ of 52,000 tonnes of gold is, as of now, well known. The Geological Survey of India had estimated that while the state have a gold reserve of the size in its Sonbhadra region, just 160 kg of this could be extracted, making it commercially unviable to extract.

But, there’s a lesson here, The lesson for the government, both at the Centre as well as at the states, is that the best policy is one that makes it easy for global exploration companies to come into the country and explore.Various government organisations found 12 kimberlites—rock formations where diamonds in the country between 1980 and 2004, Australian mining giant Rio Tinto found 22 kimberlites between 2000 and 2003.

As Niti Aayog on this pointed out, India’s ‘prospective geology is broadly similar to that of Western Australia, especially in relation to iron ore. According to Niti Aayog, even doubling the area explored to 20% of ‘obvious geological potential’ can create an additional 5 million jobs by 2022-23, from the current 10 million.Getting private players—both Indian and foreign—is also difficult in terms of funding; the National Mineral Exploration Trust, set up a few years ago to catalyse exploration in the country has just spent Rs 200 crore of the Rs 1,500 crore it has accumulated over the past three years.

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