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NMDC signs MoU with IIT Kharagpur for drone-based mineral exploration



India’s largest Iron Ore producer National Mineral Development Corporation Ltd. (NMDC), a CPSE under Ministry of Steel, on Wednesday signed a MoU with IIT Kharagpur for drone-based mineral exploration.

NMDC has been exploring minerals for six decades for a wide range of minerals such as Copper, Rock phosphate, Limestone, magnesite, Diamond, Tungsten and Beach sands amongst others right from the reconnaissance G4 level to the detailed G1 Level of UNFC.

The MoU for ‘Drone-Based Mineral Exploration’ was signed on a virtual platform which was attended by Sumit Deb, CMD; Amitava Mukherjee, Director (Finance); Somnath Nandi, Director (Technical); D.K. Mohanty, Director (Production) from NMDC and professors from IIT Kharagpur.

The MoU was signed on behalf of NMDC by DK Mohanty, Director (Production) and on behalf of IIT Kharagpur by Prof. S.P.Sharma, HoD, Department of Geology & Geophysics and Prof. Samir K Pal, HoD, Department of Mining Engineering.

Sumit Deb, CMD, NMDC said, “NMDC would be the first CPSE in India to conduct Drone-based Geophysical Surveys and Hyperspectral Studies for Mineral Exploration in the country. NMDC’s tie up with IIT-Kharagpur will open a new chapter and set a benchmark in the field of mineral exploration for the nation.”

NMDC is conducting exploration for various minerals in the State of Madhya Pradesh and also in the Beloda-Belmundi block in Chhattisgarh for Diamonds. NMDC is also the first CPSE to use Space Geophysics in Central Indian Diamond Province and the first to use online monitoring of exploration of data on the BHUVAN platform. NMDC is increasingly relying on technological innovation and digitalization of its database related to exploration and mining.

With the launch of a policy on Drones, the Government has taken the first step to regulate and monitor drone usage and operations in India which are currently being used in the fields of agriculture, urban planning, forestry, mining, disaster management, surveillance, transport etc.

NMDC and IIT Kharagpur would develop spectral products, methods and algorithms for exploration using the Drone (UAV) for mining. The collaboration between NMDC and IIT Kharagpur would further lead to the development of software spectral tools for mineral excavation and capacity building programs on mining technology.

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