President Pranab Mukherjee on Tuesday said the sustenance of mankind depends only on environmentally sustainable mining practices.Presenting the National Geoscience Awards 2014 here at Rashtrapati Bhavan, the President said availability and use of minerals in any country has been "one of the factors determining self-sufficiency of its economy"."These natural resources have to be explored, extracted, refined and processed to use them for nation building. At the same time, we must understand that sustenance of mankind depends only on environmentally sustainable mining practices," he said.Mukherjee said: "Our effort to use our natural resources should be informed by the dangers of natural and man made disasters." The president said he was happy to note that the Geoscientists of the country were working hard to meet these challenges. "The diverse fields work of the awardees are testimony to this inherent spread of the geoscientific developments in the country."He said the exploration of mineral resources in the country required a greater thrust with an even greater caution.
"As the search for the near surface deposits have reached a point of saturation, the Geoscientists of the country now face the crucial challenge of finding deep seated and concealed mineral resources."There is a need to focus on exploration of the offshore mineral resources which hold enormous potential of supplementing the increasing needs of the society. Similarly, it is also important to find strategic and rare earth elements to support Space and Information Technology Missions of the Nation to ensure self-reliance of the nation in these fields. However, all of this needs to be accomplished with the environmental sustainability concern in mind," he said. The National Geoscience Awards, earlier known as the national mineral awards, were instituted by the ministry of mines in 1966 to honour individuals and teams of scientists for their extraordinary achievements and outstanding contributions in fundamental and applied geosciences and mining and allied fields.Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were union Minister of Steel and Mines Narendra Singh Tomar and Minister of State for Steel and Mines Vishnu Deo Sai.