The Centre has asked mineral-rich states to complete by next month the exploration of all the 329 mining leases expiring in another two years.
Mines Secretary Anil Mukim advised that "exploration of all mining leases expiring in 2020 should be completed by December 2018," according to the minutes of the Coordination-cum-Empowered Committee (CCEC) meeting held last month.
During the meeting, Mukim --who reviewed the exploration status of various mines -- sought constitution of a committee to look into the post-auction issues related to the transition from the old to the new lessee and prepare draft guidelines for the same.
Of these 329 mines, 281 are non-working while 48 are working mines. The maximum 184 mineral blocks are in Goa, followed by 48 in Karnataka and 31 in Odisha, among others.
During the meeting, Odisha government stated that exploration of various mines in the eastern state will be completed by December by the existing leaseholders.
"The Secretary also advised the states having less number of leases due to expire in 2020 to initiate action on similar lines," the minutes of the meeting said.
During the meeting, the Secretary also sought information from states with regard to the blocks which were planned to be auctioned in 2018-19 and the current state of the preparation regarding the auction of mineral blocks.
The Centre had earlier asked all states to begin the auction of mining leases expiring in the next two years by July 2019 to avert any shortage of minerals.
The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) has expressed concerns over the expiry of the existing mining leases in March 2020, which, it said, may affect the availability of raw materials for the Indian mining industry if leases are not renewed in time.