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India’s mining law is rooted in British Common Law. It compares well to mining codes in other countries. The core mining law is promulgated by the central government in New Delhi, but minerals are vested with the states.

The mining law is extensive. It is written in English and widely distributed. (These things are not found in some other countries where foreign companies are currently exploring for minerals.)

An individual, partnership or corporation may apply for a mineral tenure. The application is reviewed by several agencies of local, state and central government and, if found in order, awarded by the state government and approved by Delhi.

For about 50 years gold, diamonds, zinc, copper, nickel, platinum and lead were "scheduled minerals" reserved for the state. India's new National Minerals Policy in 1993 and changes in the law in 1994 and 1998 opened the sector to private and foreign investors.

There are three levels of tenure: Reconnaissance Permit, for areas up to 5,000 square kilometers; Prospecting Licence, up to 25 square km, for more detailed examination; and Mining Lease, for production.

For details, including the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act, please see the Indian Department of Mines' site http://mines.nic.in/.

One more thing: India has mature and experienced judicial institutions used to hearing and resolving civil complaints.

(Updated January 1, 2008)



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