Ministry of Mines
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GSI Hosts Workshop on ‘Offshore Exploration: Synergies and Opportunities (OESO)’ in Mangalore

Posted On: 15 FEB 2024 5:58PM by PIB Delhi

The Marine and Coastal Survey Division (MCSD) of the Geological Survey of India (GSI) successfully concluded its workshop titled "Offshore Exploration: Synergies and Opportunities (OESO)" in Mangalore today. The workshop was a significant collaborative effort aimed at advancing offshore exploration in India.

Shri V. L. Kantha Rao, Secretary, Ministry of Mines, Govt. of India inaugurated the workshop. Shri Rao congratulated the GSI for bringing together a diverse group of stakeholders, including governmental bodies, research institutions, academia, and industry players, for discussions on fostering collaboration and knowledge sharing in the offshore domain.

Addressing the gathering Shri. V.L. Kantha Rao, informed that GSI has already handed over 35 offshore mineral blocks for auction to the Govt. of India and 24 more blocks are in pipeline to be handed over by GSI for auctioning. As the process of auctioning of offshore blocks for exploration & exploitation is a new domain, for this initiative to succeed in a meaningful way, Mines Ministry is working on the Amendments in the Offshore Areas Mineral (Development & Regulation) Act, 2002.

Shri. Kantha Rao highlighted that, with the 2023 amendments in place, Ministry of Mines will start the auction process in next 2-3 months for these offshore blocks. Moreover, Ministry of Mines is also in processes of developing the process, procedure, norms and the SOPs that will take care of the requirements once the private sector bidder gets the block in auction to move forward for its exploitation.

In his concluding remarks, Shri Rao spoke about the vast Geological/offshore data generated by GSI over its journey of more than 172 years. He urged one and all to consult the GSI data through GSI portal and also through the recently launched NGDR portal which is of immense help for institutions working in offshore domain. He requested other institutions having their own data repository to put their data in public domain for use by other agencies. Shri Rao urged the GSI, academia, scientific institutions, PSUs and others working in offshore domain to collaborate and handhold the industry in its endeavors for exploration & exploitation of these mineral blocks for the benefit of the country.

Addressing the gathering, Shri Janardan Prasad, DG, GSI, underscored the significance of this workshop as the nation embarks on a journey to harness offshore mineral resources for rapid economic development, aligning with the larger vision of the Government of India. He shared that the Geological Survey of India (GSI) has been working in offshore exploration since 1970s and has earmarked various offshore blocks for Polymetallic Nodules, heavy mineral placers, Lime mud and construction sand, emphasizing the vast potential of India's coastal zones. Despite holding a wealth of resources, much of this potential remains untapped. He said that it is our collective responsibility to harness this potential in a sustainable and responsible manner, ensuring that future generations can benefit from these riches.

During the technical sessions, the focal point of discussions revolved around the Amendments in the Offshore Areas Mineral (Development & Regulation) Act, 2002, and the formulation of draft guidelines for the notification of private exploration agencies for offshore exploration. These discussions aimed to streamline and facilitate private sector participation in offshore exploration activities.

The workshop agenda encompassed a wide array of topics, including an overview of GSI's activities in the offshore, government initiatives in promoting exploration and exploitation, collaborative frameworks for data sharing, and sustainable practices for offshore mineral exploration. The workshop sought to establish mechanisms for effective data sharing and collaboration among agencies involved in offshore exploration, fostering a conducive environment for joint research initiatives, information sharing, and technical expertise exchange to drive innovation and exploration in offshore mineral resources.

The workshop featured presentations from leading experts from MoES, NIO, NCPOR, ONGC, NIOT, IREL (India) Ltd. and DGH covering topics ranging from data acquisition to environmental considerations, providing participants with valuable insights into the challenges and opportunities within the offshore exploration sector. With an extensive list of participants from ministries, defence, research institutions, academia, and industry, the workshop served as a platform for fruitful discussions.

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