J&K To Start Gem Stone, Base Metal Prospecting This Year27 May 2011
Srinagar: An extensive exercise for exploration of base metal items like Zinc, Copper and Iron besides industrial minerals would be undertaken from the current year to give a boost to mineral based industries in Jammu and Kashmir. The prospecting would be undertaken in collaboration with the Geological Survey of India (GSI) Minister for Industries & Commerce, S. S. Slathia said today. Reviewing performance of the Geology and Mining Department, at a high level meeting today, the Minister said J&K is bestowed with vast treasure of natural minerals which needs to be exploited fully to bring a wide ranging socio-economic transformation in the State. The meeting was attended by the Commissioner Secretary, Industries and Commerce, Mr. Umang Narula, Director Geology & Mining, Mr. I. A. Ashai and concerned offices of the Geology and Mining Department. The Minister said that huge reserves of best quality marble and granite available in the state should be exploited adding that the Geology & Mining Department should switch over to open bidding - tendering for this purpose. The Minister asked the Director Geology & Mining to fix targets for exploration of maximum reserves of Gypsum, lime stone, marble, granite, bauxite, dolomite, coal, lignite which exists in abundance in the State. “Optimum exploitation of these minerals would help to promote entrepreneurship and industrial culture in the State, imperative for attaining speedy economic Self-Sustenance in the State, Mr. Slathia added. He urged for fixing months wise targets for drilling with follow-up action. He said the state has mineral bearing area of 13334 sq kms 60% of which is reported to be commercially viable for mining. The Director, Geology & Mining informed the meeting that he department has set up mineral 50 check posts in various part of the state to monitor transportation of minerals and to check illegal extraction of minerals and evasion in royalty payments. He said the department has earned record revenue of Rs. 34.19 crore during last fiscal against Rs. 9 crore during 2009-2010. He said that the department has stated open tendering for exploration of minerals which have proved very successful. Ashai said 79 mineral blocks and 32 stone quarry belts have been carved out in Kashmir division and 40 minor mineral blocks in Jammu division. He said construction of a modern Mineral Testing Lab at Ompora, Budgam has been taken up at a cost or Rs. 55.76 lakhs. He said the G&M department proposes to set up seismic labs in Tangdar, Kupwara, Rajouri, Sonamarg, Beerwa, Budgam where as such labs being established at University campuses of Jammu, Poonch, Bani, Kathua and Dooru Anantnag also.