Govt plans to unlock 500 mineral blocks
through open auction, move may create 5L
(Courtesy : THE ECONOMIC TIMES 20 july e paper)
Kolkata: The Union government is considering a move to unlock about 500
mineral blocks through an open and transparent auction by repealing
Section 10A2 (b) of MMDR Act under the ‘AtmanirbharBharat” vision.
The move is tipped to help unlock more than a billion tonne of mineral
reserves and create nearly five lakhs employment, steel industry sources
"A large number of potential mineral blocks are blocked due to the saving
clause in section 10A2(b) of MMDR Act wherein RP/PL holder has a right
to obtain the mining lease if the holder of the lease has undertaken
reconnaissance operations or prospecting operations. There is no sunset
clause in the relevant section unlike section 10A2(c) which provided 2
years time in 2015 to execute the leases and therefore these leases are
still pending for execution," the sources pointed out.
The move is slated to boost mineral development through auctioning of
non-producing mineral mining licenses. Some 128 iron ore mines, 102 lime
stone Mines, 58 manganese ore and 11 bauxite mines are pending under
section 10A2(b). Out of 500 concessions, approximately 88 mineral
concessions were allocated between 1981 and 2005 and are pending for
conversion from (Prospecting License) PL to (Mining lease) ML since then.
Rough estimates indicate if these mines come into auction, the state
The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI), which represents
interests of mining firms has, however, urged the government against
repealing certain sections of the MMDR Act. The apex industry body of
miners has said not only will it prevent loss of livelihood to the tune of 2.64
lakh in these difficult times, but will also help create over 4 lakh new jobs in
the mining sector.