Centre may bar non-serious players from mineral auctions
Centre is considering bringing stringent provisions to bar non-serious players from all future mineral auctions. Pralhad Joshi, the Coal and Mines Minister, said that he is in talks with state governments to distinguish and bar those companies that have been sabotaging the mineral auction process and delaying production.
Speaking at the ongoing, virtually held CII Global Mining Summit 2020 , Joshi said that to ensure that only earnest players can participate they are bringing changes in the next round of the mineral auctions. The government intends to maximise production and revenue. Joshi stated that the Centre had done its part by transferring clearances and expediting the auction of mineral leases. He also said that leases of a large number of working merchant mines were expiring in March 2020 and had to be auctioned immediately. By publishing an ordinance (the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020) the government took an industry-friendly and proactive step of transforming all the statutory clearances to the new leaseholders. This was a significant step to ensure a seamless and constant supply of raw materials.
Transfer of existing clearances to new leaseholders was allowed by the Ordinance to ensure that there was no decline in mineral production for want of regulatory approvals.
The minister claimed that despite having all approvals in place, some mine-lease holders are not producing enough minerals.
Production hindranceJoshi said that Odisha recently completed the successful auction of a large number of iron ore mines with this Ordinance in place. However, by delaying production some of the successful bidders are trying to evade the process of the auction. He further stated that he would humbly like to appeal to all miners not to do so.
Joshi said that the Centre is contemplating bringing into the act stringent provisions in coordination with the state governments, so that those non-serious players are terminated and barred from future auctions. This is being done in order to take a strict stand against those players who are delaying production from these mines.
For exploration, along with other changes in the upcoming reforms to the mining sector, Joshi also mentioned that there would be an emphasis on encouraging private players in response to suggestions made at the Summit. He said that the proposed structural changes in the mining sector aim to redefine the criteria of exploration for auction of mineral blocks to guarantee a seamless transition from exploration to production and to increase participation of the private sector in mineral exploration while elaborating on the reforms on the anvil. They will also open acreage licensing policy for allocation of mining rights and redefine the standard of exploration needed for auctioning of blocks for prospecting license-cum mining lease.
Source: Business Journal
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