The Centre for Techno Economic Policy Options (C-TEMPO)

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Centre for Techno Economic Mineral Policy Options: background[edit]

The first Indian National Mineral Policy of 1993 sought to incentivise private sector investment in mining and exploration. The Ministry of Mines, which was administering the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957, had constituted a Technical Planning & Policy Committee (TPPC)in 1988,[1] and this Committee was tasked with giving effect to this objective. TPPC was funded by annual grants from the PSUs of the Ministry of Mines. Since all this involved fresh thinking, and close involvement with the private sector and other stakeholders, including CSOs and NGOs, the Government set up the Wadhawan Committee which in its recommendations in 1994 suggested replacing TPPC with a registered society, with sufficient autonomy and the ability to give attributable and non-binding advice to stakeholders. However, despite the Policy of 1993, investments into mining and exploration were not forthcoming,[2] and the Government set up a High Level Committee (popularly known as the Hoda Committee) to go into the matter. Based on the Hoda Committee recommendations of 2006, Government announced a new National Mineral Policy 2008, which further sought to incentivise the private sector in exploration and mining, and to utilise low grade ores through beneficiation, and conduct mining operations within a sustainable development framework. The matter regarding replacing TPPC with a more appropriate structure was accordingly revived and given in depth consideration in the Ministry and finally, the Centre for Techno-Economic Mineral Policy Options (C-TEMPO) was created in 2009, based on the Ministry of Mines' 100 Day Agenda of the UPA-II Government (which undertook to create a techno-economic think tank), and with the approval of the Minister of Mines.

Organisational Arrangements[edit]

C-TEMPO was conceived as a lean organisation, steered by sectoral institutions, but positioned to produce independent, professional and evidence-based policy and strategy papers in the public domain and in the public interest, for the benefit of all the stakeholders. Whereas TPPC was being funded annually by the Public Sector Units (PSUs) of the Ministry of Mines, namely NALCO, BALCO, HZL, HCL, MECL etc., it was decided (as recommended by the Wadhawan Committee) that C-TEMPO should be funded by a corpus, similar to the arrangements made for another institution with the Ministry, namely the Non-Ferrous Technology Development Centre (NFTDC), which was funded through a corpus created by a one time grant by the PSUs. Accordingly, NALCO with the approval of its Board of Directors, gave a corpus grant of Rs. 40,000,000 to C-TEMPO.

C-TEMPO, for management purposes, has a General Body and a Governing Council, both headed by the Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Mines in his ex-officio capacity. Other members are the Director-General Geological Survey of India, the Controller-General, Indian Bureau of MInes, and the CMDs of NALCO, HCL and MECL, all in their ex-officio capacity.In addition, a few professionals were inducted.[3][4] [5][6][7]

Achievements of C-TEMPO[edit]

C-TEMPO has focussed on three or four major areas, in accordance with its mandate: •utilisation of low grade ores •exploration, particularly of the deeper subsurface using advanced technologies such as aerial geophysics •resource security, for elements and minerals in short supply or of critical nature or of strategic interest

C-TEMPO has brought out the following publications in this connection: (i) A Guide to Investment in India‟s Mineral Industry (ii) Study on Pelletisation of iron ore fines in India and utilization of low-grade iron ore and fines. (iii) Position Paper on “”Development of Iron Ore Pelletisation Industry in India‟‟ (iv) Study on exploration techniques and technology for location and development of deep seated metals in India (v) Position Paper on Location and Development of Deep Seated Metalliferous Deposits in India brought out in January 2011. (vi) Study on iron-ore Pelletisation. Vol-II (vii) Study titled: “Relevance of Iron-ore Pelletisation industry in India- A Perspective” (viii) Position Paper on Rare Earth Metals. (ix) “An Overview of Rare Earth Elements” (x) FAQs on The Mines & Minerals Development & Regulation Bill, 2011. (xi) Status and strategy for exploration and development of Nickel and Platinum Group Elements resources in India (xii) Strategy paper on “Rare Earths and Energy Critical Elements:[8] A Roadmap and Strategy for India” brought out in July 2012 by C-TEMPO and C-STEP. (xiii) Revision of Aluminum Mission Plan 2010-20.

Focus areas for the future[edit]

C-TEMPO's plans for the future include:

  • Technical papers on low grade ores and pelletisation of iron ore fines,[9][10]
  • Scientific papers on rare earths,[11][12][13] technology metals[14] and Energy Critical Metals[15]
  • Policy Papers on incentivising deep exploration, attracting investments and improving the regulatory and governance framework around the Indian Mining Sector[16]
  • Strategy papers for Sustainable Development, including issues arising from the Supreme Court guidelines on "carrying capacity" and "mining caps to ensure inter-generational equity"

Incorporating C-TEMPO's value addition into Government's Policy[edit]

Clearly, C-TEMPO as an institution is delivering value in a way the TPPC could not. However, Government Ministries, State Governments, the Parliament, the Courts, CSOs and NGOs, not to talk of Industry Associations need to leverage the work of C-TEMPO and other organisations of the sector to help achieve the goal of scientific, zero-waste mining within a Sustainable Development Framework.