Cabinet approves mineral policy

Cabinet approves mineral policy

Post Report, Kathmandu


Nepal is said to have deposits of 63 types of minerals, such as limestone, coal, talc, red clay, granite and marble, gold, and semi-precious and precious metals

May 20, 2017-

 A recent cabinet meeting has approved the Mineral Policy filling the vacuum created by lack of such a framework, which was preventing the country from excavating mineral resources in a sustainable manner so as to maximise the country’s earnings.The policy, prepared by the Department of Mines and Geology and tabled in the Cabinet by the Ministry of Industry, has tried to address various challenges faced by the sector and ensure mineral deposits are extracted in a sustainable manner without affecting local livelihoods.

The MoI is now planning to use the policy as a guideline to frame the draft of the Mineral Bill which will spell out ways to attract domestic and foreign investment in the mining sector, rope in qualified human resources and technology for development of the sector, and conserve mineral resources for future generation. Nepal is said to have deposits of 63 types of minerals, such as limestone, coal, talc, red clay, granite and marble, gold, and semi-precious and precious metals, like tourmaline, aquamarine, ruby and sapphire.

The Department of Geology and Mines has also discovered 1.1 billion tonnes of limestone deposits, of which 540 million tonnes are proven, 110 million tonnes are semi-proven, and 420 million tonnes are feasible deposits. These deposits have been discovered in districts such as Udayapur, Dhankuta, Sindhuli, Makwanpur, Lalitpur, Dhading, Syangja, Arghakhachi, Sukhet, Dang, Salyan, Baitadi and Palpa.

Recently, a team of geologists from the Department of Mines and Geology had also visited Dhauwadi in Nawalparasi district to conduct a detailed study on extraction of iron from ores found in the village.

A previous study had shown that up to 25 tonnes of iron could be extracted from the ores found in the iron mine, which spreads across 10-km stretch from Dhauwadi to Ruchang. “Maximum utilisation of mineral resources available in various parts of the country could help Nepal embark on the path of inclusive economic development. This will also help the nation to achieve the ambitious goal of becoming a middle-income country within 2030,” says a statement issued on Friday by the Ministry of Industry.

Although the country currently has Mines and Minerals Act and Regulation, they have not helped in development of the mining and mineral sector as they are not comprehensive. Besides, these regulatory framework were framed around two decades ago and have now become obsolete. The new policy aims to simplify procedures to conduct mining operations, prioritise works related to excavation of mineral resources, and amend overlapping rules and regulations that have prevented overall development of the mining sector.

Petroleum exploration to begin soon

KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Industry (MoI) will invite international companies to conduct a feasibility study on extraction of petroleum gas and oil from various parts of the country within the last week of June.

Issuing a statement on Friday, the MoI said a global tender will be floated by June 29, calling on international companies to carry out exploration works in various parts of the country. The government has divided the Tarai and the Siwalik hills into 10 “exploration blocks” of 5,000sqkm each. After Nepal embarked on petroleum exploration in the late 1990s, a number of foreign companies expressed interests in working in the country. However, citing slow progress of these companies, the government, last year, scrapped licences of all the companies. (PR)

Published: 20-05-2017 09:22