Govt of Rajasthan takes the lead in the Country in exploration and exploitation of Potash.
Rajasthan receives keen interests and offers from prospective bidders and participants in the first stakeholders meeting
(Jaipur, November 15) The state government organized a Stakeholder Consultation Meet on November 15, 2019, at Bikaner House, New Delhi, which was chaired by Sh. D B Gupta, Chief Secretary, Government of Rajasthan, which was attended by Mines Secretary, DMG Rajasthan, MD-RSMML, CMD-MECL and senior representatives of various CPSE's, Corporate and consultancy companies viz., Tata Chemicals, FCI, IFFCO, HZL, FAGMIL, CIMFR, FAI, CSMRS, etc.
In the meet, the stakeholders showed a keen interest in the salt deposits, including Potash existing in the northwestern part of the state of Rajasthan. Interestingly some stakeholders requested the Chief Secretary, GOR, to provide licenses/permits in the first stakeholders meet itself. It was, however, clarified that blocks would be allotted after due process of transparent auctioning of composite license/ mining lease routes as per MMDR Act & Rules, upon completion of the feasibility studies by MECL in 6-9 months. DMG, GSI & MECL made detailed presentations on various technical aspects related to Potash & other salt deposits and way forward for harnessing & exploiting the same.
The Chief Secretary of Rajasthan Shree D B Gupta told that being the Chairman of the constituted SLEC, he would also be regularly monitoring the time-bound implementation of the proposal. He also stated that Country is importing 3 to 5 million tones of Potash per year from the year 2013-14 to 2018-19, and the demand for Potash is increasing at the rate of 6-7% per annum causing commensurate growth in the import bill. He said by seeing the visible development and exploitation of potash deposits of Rajasthan has the potential to reverse the scenario from being importer to exporter of Potash.
The Chief Secretary told that currently, the entire Potash required by India based on imported supply. The central government apart from incurring huge expenditure on foreign exchange also incur a sizable expenditure on subsidies, in the range of 10000-15000 crores rupees per annum. Intending to solve the issue and generate indigenous sourcing of Potash, the Government of Rajasthan has taken a giant step towards reaching a self-reliance level with regards to Potash requirements of the Country. He added, as per geological studies, there are reserves of around 2400 million tonnes of potash deposits in Nagore-Ganganagar basin of Rajasthan covering parts of Sriganganagar, Hanumangarh, and Bikaner districts. It is estimated to be around five times the declared world reserves of Potash.
Shree. D.B. Gupta said that based on the
Investigations being carried out by Geological Survey of India over the past few decades, the Rajasthan Government has constituted a State Level Empowered Committee specifically for harnessing the Potash deposits in Western Rajasthan. MECL, a central government PSU, has been appointed as a Program Manager for undertaking detailed feasibility reports and also to undertake a Pilot Plant study.
The Chief Secretary also added that Rajasthan Government has decided for a time-bound action plan, which will be completed within six months of the proposed MOU between RSMML, MECL & DMGR. He further informed that the mines department is going to establish a State Mineral Exploration Trust under guidance of Secretary (M&P), GOR for exploration & exploitation of vast mineral resources of the State including Obvious Geological Potential areas, Rare Earth Elements, Platinum group of elements, precious metals- Gold & Silver, Base metals and entire gamut of industrial, dimensional & decorative minerals.
He said that the Chief Minister Shree Ashok Gehlot had also given instructions to the Department of mines and geology, Rajasthan to expedite exploration, feasibility study and auction processes of the potential potash deposits in the state of Rajasthan so that India can become self-sufficient in this key fertilizer element on one hand, and there is creation of new employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth in the state.
Secretary, Mines, and Petroleum, Shree Dinesh Kumar, told the stakeholders that the Mines department of Rajasthan is giving Top Priority to the issue, and the government is committed to a time-bound implementation.
Shree Gaurav Goyal Director Mines and Geology stated that the exploration of the F-axis and E-axis is being proposed for the first time in the Country on any deep-seated mineral deposit. This would be the first instance of the use of solution mining technology for harnessing bedded salt deposits in the Country. He also told that exploration in the Satipura block had been completed by GSI, and the Lakhasar block will be completed soon by MECL. Hence, the state government will have two blocks for immediate auction once this proposed study is concluded. GSI & MECL are in the process of exploration in several other blocks, which after exploration, shall also be available for auction.
Dr. Ranjit Rath, CMD, MECL in the meet explained the various developments in the field of solution mining techniques being practiced all over the world and expressed its usability in the salt bedded deposits of Rajasthan. He also expressed that MECL is well equipped & committed to time-bound completion of feasibility studies for the salt bed deposits in Rajasthan.
Shree Somnath Mishra, MD, RSMML, while addressing the stakeholders, stated that RSMML is the only company in the Country engaged in fertilizer mineral mining business (Rock Phosphate & Gypsum) and now the company is keen to pursue Potash mining, as well.
It was further informed that the mines department is going to establish a ‘State Mineral Exploration Trust' under guidance of Secretary (M&P), GOR for exploration & exploitation of vast mineral resources of the State including Obvious Geological Potential areas, Rare Earth Elements, Platinum group of elements, precious metals- Gold & Silver, Base metals and entire gamut of industrial, dimensional & decorative minerals.
Laying emphasis and chalking out the priorities it was during last month only that Sh. Ashok Gehlot, Hon'ble CM Rajasthan had given instructions to the ‘Department of mines and geology, Rajasthan' to expedite exploration, feasibility study and auction processes of the potential potash deposits in the state of Rajasthan, so that India can become self-sufficient in this key fertilizer element on one hand, and there is creation of new employment and entrepreneurship opportunities for youth in the state.