Captive mine lessees have sought approval to sell inferior grades of minerals, saying it will reduce waste at mines.
Their demand stems from the fact that baser grade ore could not be used in the mother plants or the downstream units. Such lower grade ore and rejects can be disposed off to other industries where they find applications.
“Captive miners are restricted to dispose or sell low grade minerals not usable for end use plant associated with the mines, thereby, locking mineralised land and preventing zero waste mining. Currently, according to the Mineral Transfer Rules, captive mining implies 100 per cent usage of the mineral mined from captive mines to own plants”, industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Ficci) flagged in a presentation to the NITI Aayog.
Existing rules forbid captive miners from selling rejects, sub-grade or low-grade ores that are not usable for downstream processes, leading to a loss of revenues for the government.
Moreover, environmental de-gradation due to dumping of such material is also a concern for mineral conservation. In certain mining leases (ML), there are both major and minor minerals in the same ML which are being treated differently by the state government leading to operational issues.
Zero waste mining is one of the key takeaways in the recently unveiled National Mineral Policy 2019. In this backdrop, the captive miners have called for an amendment in Mineral Concession Rules 1960 to facilitate sale of sub-grade minerals to other industries. If an ML consists of both major and minor minerals, then the same should be considered as Major Mineral ML and all matters should be dealt as such, miners say.