NEW DELHI India will launch its biggest aero geophysical survey of minerals next month to unearth deep-seated resources such as gold and copper, as it seeks to develop its mining industry and reduce its dependence on imports.The survey will cover more than 200,000 square kilometres across seven states from Rajasthan in the west to the southeastern state of Andhra Pradesh, India's Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar told Reuters on Monday.The data gathered will be made public later this year for local and foreign companies to consider mining in the country.Only a fraction of areas in India with mineral potential has been explored, which has meant that the country imports everything from asbestos and copper to gold and aluminium.
"The survey will go a long way in unearthing the untapped resources lying underneath," Kumar said. "The kind of exploration advanced countries like Australia do, we are nowhere near that. But in three years, we should reach that level."A group of three surveying companies from Australia, Kazakhstan and India will fly eight aircraft from Singapore and New Zealand starting on Feb. 15 to conduct the project, at an initial cost of $16 million.
As well as Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, they will focus on the states of Gujarat, Karnataka, Odisha, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.
($1 = 67.9281 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Susan Fenton)
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Updated Date: Jan 30, 2017 21:52:11 IST