The life cycle of mining process begins with basic three activities exploration, continues through production, and ends with closure and post mining reclamation for land use. New technologies can benefit the mining sector and consumers in all stages of the mining life cycle. This report does not include downstream processing, such as smelting of mineral concentrates or refining of metals. The discussion is limited to the exploration technologies that affect steps leading to the sale of the first commercial product after mineral extraction.
Mineral exploration and mining history of India are closely related to the establishment of Geological Survey of India (GSI). Commencing its journey from locating coal for Railways, over the years GSI has expanded its role to undertake exploration for various mineral commodities to meet the basic need of different industries stakeholders of the country. Mineral exploration of GSI comprises three stages operation involving Reconnaissance exploration (G4), Prospecting (G3) & Regional Exploration (G2).
Modern exploration has been driven largely by advanced technologies. Many mineral discoveries since the 1960s can be attributed to geophysical and geochemical technologies developed by both mining industry and government. Even though industrial investment in in-house exploration research and development in the other countries of the world decreased during the 1990s, new technologies, such as tomographic imaging and GPS were newly applied to mineral exploration. Research in basic geological sciences, geophysical and geochemical methods, and drilling technologies could improve the effectiveness, efficiency and productivity of exploration. These fields sometimes overlap, and developments in one area are likely to cross-fertilize research and development in other areas.
- Peninsular India
- The main repository of economic minerals , constitutes
- Different Archaean cratons like Dharwar (Karnataka), Bastar, Singhbhum, Banded Gneissic omplex and Bundelkhand
- Mobile belts like Southern Granulite Terrain, Eastern Ghats, Satpura, Aravalli, Delhi Etc.
- Proterozoic sedimentary basins (Intracratonic) like Cuddapah, Vindhyan, Marwar, Chhattisgarh, Indravati, Pakhal etc
- Gondwana Basins
- Deccan Traps and younger sedimentary basins .
- Geological and metallogenic history is comparable to mineral rich areas of Antarctica, Australia, South Africa and South America.
Long Term Initiatives:
- To complete geophysical and geochemical mapping of the country expeditiously to develop new potential areas for mineral prospecting /exploration
- To complete the Geomorphological and Lineament Mapping and National Geochemical mapping (NGCM) of the Obvious Geological Potential (OGP) areas by end of 12th Plan.
- Hyper Spectral Mapping (HSM) in OGP areas
- Initiate and complete National Aeromagnetic Surveys in a comprehensive and systematic manner for OGP areas by end of 12th Plan.
- Offshore Geo-Scientific Studies
Future Strategy for Exploration:
- Deficit and strategic minerals like Nickel, PGE, Gold, Diamond and REE & Rare Metals(RM)
- Export potential and Energy minerals
- Concept oriented survey to locate deep-seated concealed deposits.
- Low-altitude aero-geophysical multi-sensor surveys (including Hyperspectral) over large expanse of potential terrain.
- Integrated ground geological, geochemical, geophysical studies for deposit modeling.