Geological Survey of India (GSI) will soon take up the ambitious National Airborne Geophysical Mapping project covering 8 lakh sq kms including the Obvious Geological Potential (OGP) area, which includes iron ore rich Goa, on a priority.
The project is aimed to map and identify reserves of rare earth and other strategic minerals. The project with an estimated cost of Rs 1500 crore, is expected to start from 2016-17 and its completion is planned for 2020-21.
This was revealed by the Union Mines Ministry in their proposed National Mineral Exploration Policy. The base paper of the policy has been kept open for discussion, wherein stakeholders including State governments, will have submit their comments and suggestions latest by Nov 20.
“There is an urgent need for collecting aerogeophysical data on a uniform flight height and spacing. GSI is in the process of taking up a National Airborne Geophysical Mapping Program (NAGMP) involving acquisition of aeromagnetic and gravity data,” the policy document says.
The airborne geophysical surveys over the OGP areas will be carried out with a uniform flight line spacing of 1000m with a flight altitude of 120m. The ministry views that the OGP maps need to be prepared by GSI in respect of fertilizer minerals, nickel, cobalt, antimony, rare earths and rare metals, lithium, bismuth etc.
“Considering the fact that understanding of the mineral systems is evolving with time and new exploration data is being added every year, GSI should upgrade the OGP areas mineral-wise at least every five years, and bring out a detailed atlas,” the policy states.
After OGP areas, the project will cover the rest of the country, which will be taken up from 2020-21 and will end by 2027-28.
The OGP area of the entire country for gold, basemetal, diamond, ferrous, PGE, bauxite, coal etc is 5.707 lakh sq km. An area of about 10 percent falls under restricted area. About 53 percent area is marked for diamond and precious minerals out of which approximately half the area is reserved for gold, basemetal, chromite, iron ore, bauxite etc.