Drone-based Mineral Exploration

India’s largest iron ore producer, National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) Ltd, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with IIT Kharagpur for the purpose of drone-based mineral exploration.


  • Drone-based Geophysical Surveys and Hyperspectral Studies for Mineral Exploration would be conducted by NMDC for the first time in India. The collaboration between NMDC and IIT-Kharagpur will open a new era in mineral exploration for the country.
  • Spectral products, algorithms and methods would be developed by IIT Kharagpur and NMDC for exploration using drones (UAV) for mining.
  • This collaboration would also lead to software spectral tools development for the purpose of capacity-building programs on mining technology and mineral excavation.
  • NMDC is relying on digitalization and technological innovation of its database related to mining and exploration.

Mineral Exploration of NMDC

For six decades NMDC has been exploring minerals for a wide range of minerals such as rock phosphate, copper, magnesite, limestone, tungsten, diamond, and beach sands amongst others right from the G4 reconnaissance level to the detailed G1 level of United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC).

Where is the mineral exploration being conducted?

In Madhya Pradesh exploration for various minerals is being conducted by NMDC and for diamonds, exploration is being conducted in Chhattisgarh’s Beloda-Belmundi block.

NMDC is the first CPSE that is utilizing space geophysics in the central Indian diamond province and also the first to use the BHUVAN platform’s online monitoring of exploration of data.

About BHUVAN platform

BHUVAN is a multi-purpose end-user satellite application platform, also known as the Indian version of Google Maps. ISRO is in charge of this platform. Users can explore a 2D/3D representation of the Earth’s surface with this software program. The browser has been designed specifically for viewing India. When compared to other Virtual Globe Software, it provides more detailed images of Indian locations, with spatial resolutions up to 1 metre.



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