The MMDR Act, 1957 has been amended with effect from 12th January, 2015, bringing in a paradigm shift in the process of the grant of mineral concessions. Through the amendment, a provision has been inserted in section 10A(2)(c) which states that where the Central Government has communicated previous approval as required under sub-section (1) of section 5 for grant of a mining lease, or if a letter of intent (by whatever name called) has been issued by the State Government to grant a mining lease, before the commencement of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, the mining lease shall be granted subject to fulfilment of the conditions of the previous approval or of the letter of intent (LoI) within a period of two years from the date of commencement of the said Act. The grant of mining lease is done by the State Governments. Several meetings have been conducted by Ministry of Mines with the State Governments of 12 major mineral rich States, to reconcile the details of proposals saved under section 10A(2)(c) of the amended MMDR Act.
Based on the information provided by the State Governments, the environment clearances (EC) are pending in 69 cases and the forest clearances (FC) are pending in 69 cases. The grant of mining lease by the State Government has to be done subject to the fulfilment of the conditions of the LoI/ prior approval. The applicant shall obtain the requisite clearances which are stipulated in the conditions of the LoI or the previous approval. The Ministry of Mines is making efforts to expedite these requisite clearances under the provisions of their governing act and rules.
The Ministry of Environment Forest & Climate Change (MoEFCC), has agreed for grant of FC approval under section 2(iii) of Forest Conservation Act for allowing execution of lease in the saved cases on individual basis. The guidelines for filing of these applications on their online portal, have been circulated to the State Mining Departments. The MoEFCC has also agreed to consult Department of Legal Affairs for considering to allow execution of such mining leases, without the need of obtaining prior EC, where the EC has been stipulated as a condition in the LOI or the previous approval, as the prior EC is not stipulated as a condition for lease execution as per the EIA Notification, 2006 which has been issued under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
This information was given by the Minister of State (IC) in the Ministry of Mines, Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy Shri Piyush Goyal in reply to a question in Rajya Sabha today.
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