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Govt to put 17 non-coal mines on the block again

Decision in the wake of lack of interest shown by miners to first auction

Deepak Patel  |  New Delhi 

Govt to put 17 non-coal mines on block again

Six major states — Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Odisha, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh — would be re-tendering 17 non-coal mines for auction. The decision is in the wake of the lack of interest shown by miners to the first auction owing to various reasons — dull market scenario, low-quality of mineral, restrictive use conditions, and lack of quality exploration data.

“The states assured (the central government) that they are already in the process of resolving these issues and would be re-tendering the blocks soon,” said a government release issued after Union mines minister Narendra Singh Tomar concluded his meeting with mines ministers of mineral-producing states on Friday.

The first phase of mines auction started in November last year. According to the information provided on Friday, the states are yet to auction 58 mines in the ongoing first phase. However, the states told the central government they would be able to auction 108 mines in the second phase.

Andhra Pradesh, which is yet to auction six mines in the first phase, is planning to auction 12 mines in 2016-17. Similarly, Karnataka will auction 27 blocks this financial year, even though it is yet to complete its first phase of auction of 14 iron mines.

The Gujarat government would be re-tendering five blocks. According to the information provided by states to the central government, almost Rs 1,000 crore has been collected by the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) — a local benefit sharing mechanism — of various state governments.

Govt to put 17 non-coal mines on the block again
Four major mineral-rich states —Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu — are yet to set up DMF even after a year of the new mining law, which introduced this provision, coming into effect.

The Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, passed by Parliament in March last year, mandated DMFs in all districts affected by mining-related operations.

First Published: Sat, May 28 2016. 00:29 IST