India to explore opportunities in Ecuador mining sector

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New Delhi, Jul 17 (UNI) Ecuador Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Jose Valencia today called on India for exploring possibility of cooperation in mining sector between the two countries.

Mr Valencia met the Indian Minister of State for Mines B K Handique here today.

This meeting assumes importance in the view of the fact that Ecuador is endowed with rich minerals deposits, which includes gold-bearing quartz veins and placers, silver, copper, lead, manganese and various industrial minerals like barite, clays, feldspar, gypsum, limestone and marble.

Oil and natural gas are the main mineral resources, while small quantities of gold, silver, copper and zinc are also produced.

The country is known to have deposits of uranium, iron ore, lead, and coal as well.

Ecuador is extremely rich in mineral resources with 4.6 billion barrels of oil reserves and other mineral reserves, mainly gold, copper, nickel and ferro metals worth 220 billion dollars.

About 40 international companies with investment worth more than 1.2 billion dollars, representing about 55 per cent of the total foreign investment in Ecuador, operate in the country.

Equador has adopted a new mining mandate on April 18 this year. As the new Mining Law is being drafted and adopted, the Mining Mandate limits mining companies to hold a maximum of three concessions and invokes an immediate 180 days suspension of activities on virtually all mining concessions in Ecuador.

Mr Handique informed the Ecuadorian delegation of the liberalisation of the Indian economy leading to rapid changes in mining sector and the New Mineral Policy announced by the Government in March thsi year.

He also discussed the change in the Indian FDI policy in the mining sector, which allows foreign equity holding up to 100 per cent on the automatic route for all non-fuel and non-atomic minerals, including diamonds and precious stones.

He added that India was looking forward to opportunities for bilateral cooperation in the mining sector with Ecuador.


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