Auctioning of Mines under way

Ministry of Mines
Ministry of Mines

The government has already auctioned six mines and was in the process of auctioning another 50-60 mines in the near future. The aim is to auction at least 20-25 mines in the next three months. Also, in the next 45 days an Exploration Policy is in the offing, in which the private sector will play a crucial role. All data on exploration would soon be available in the public domain. This was disclosed by Mr. Balvinder Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Mines, Government of India, at aninteractive session on ‘Mineral Concession Rules 2016’ organized by FICCI and the Ministry of Mines, Government of India.

Mr. Kumar said that 100 blocks have also been identified for exploration and would be auctioned under the upcoming Exploration Policy which will be notified soon. Also, a sustainable development framework was being deliberated upon in which star rating would be given to mining leases and this would be based on self-certification. To monitor illegal mining activities, Mr. Kumar said an application system was been prepared which would immediately identify any mining activity undertaken outside the purview of authorized mining activity and the control room of this system would be in the Indian Bureau of Mines. He added that offshore mining rules would be in the public domain soon and the government has identified 50 offshore mining blocks which will come up for auction in three-four months. In his special address, Mr. R K Sinha, Controller General, Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM), Government of India,said that IBM was playing a proactive role and was providing handholding to state governments. Mineral Concession Rules 2016 has now brought greater transparency, clarity of terms, simplification of process, adherence to time limits and enhanced responsibilities to IBM.

He added that IBM was enabling state governments to develop a system for preparation, certification and monitoring of Mining Plan. Speaking on exploration, Mr. S V Prasad, Vice-President, SBI Capital Markets Limited, said that besides participating in the bidding for exploration contracts, private sector could participate as a part of Expert Committees formed by NMET; independent consultants that could assist NMET in audit and certifying performance of exploration contract; assist in project preparation and be a JV Partner of PSUs. Mr. R Saravanabhavan, Senior Research Officer-Minerals Division, NITI Aayog, said that NITI Aayog as a think tank was providing strategic policy as well as technical advice to various ministries to enable them to grow in the right direction. He added that NITI Aayog’s Team India Hub is leading the engagement of states with the Central government and the Knowledge and Innovation Hub builds NITI’s think-tank capabilities.

Also NITI Aayog is developing itself as a State of the Art Resource Centre. Ms. Ambika Sharma, Director General (International), FICCI, said that FICCI welcomes the Amended Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act 2015, which has been a great forward move for the growth of mining industry in India. She added that the Mineral Concession Rules would help in developing a conducive business environment.

While seeking clarification on industry’s issues, Mr. Tuhin Mukherjee, Managing Director, Essel Mining & Industries Ltd and Chair, FICCI Mining Committee, said that ‘Mineral Concession Rules 2016’ aim to streamline the process of granting mineral concessions and laying the process and timelines for grant of concessions, disposal of applications and granting of mining leases. He added that the transparency brought by the rules would allow industry to grow. Later, Mr. Gopal Dhawan, Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd and Ms. Lekha S Chakraborty, Associate Professor, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, shared the Industry-Academia Perspective on the subject. The vote of thanks was presented by Mr. P C Tibrewal, President – Mining, Jindal Steel & Power Limited and CoChair, FICCI Mining Committee.

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