A Geological Survey of India has indicated presence of heavy mineral placers to the tune of around 92 million tonnes and estimated to be worth Rs28,000 crore
In its new role as a regulator, Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM) has started granting licences for exploration of offshore minerals estimated to be worth Rs28,000 crore in the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ), reports PTI.
The sea zone, spread over 534 square km, is in Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea and covers Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Kerala coast.
"A Geological Survey of India (GSI) study in EEZ and territorial waters along the east and west coast has indicated presence of heavy mineral placers such as ilimanite, garnet, monazite, zircon, rutile and magnetite," controller general of IBM, Chandrakant Gundewar, told PTI.
The areas to be explored are off Gopalpur (Orissa), Vishakhapatnam (AP), Ratnagiri (Maharashtra) and the Kerala coast.
The mineral resources are to the tune of around 92 million tonnes and estimated to be worth Rs28,000 crore, he said.
Under the law of the sea, a country has special rights to explore and use marine resources falling under its EEZ that extends 200 nautical miles from its coast, Mr Gundewar said.
The Union ministry of mines had last month appointed the Nagpur-headquartered agency as the administering authority to grant exploration licences for offshore mineral blocks, first such exercise in South Asia.
The licences, for which both government and private firms are vying, will be granted till 14th September, chief mining engineer at IBM Ranjan Sahai said.
Mr Gundewar and regional controller M V Sahastrabudhe said preliminary survey of the EEZ had been carried out earlier by GSI and National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).
To a question, Mr Gundewar said monazite and zircon minerals are used in producing atomic energy.