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Pralhad Joshi introduces Mines and Minerals Bill 2023 in Lok Sabha

A bill seeking grant of exploration licence to private sector players for deep-seated and critical minerals was introduced in Parliament on Wednesday

Pralhad Joshi

Pralhad Joshi

Press Trust of India New Delhi

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A bill seeking grant of exploration licence to private sector players for deep-seated and critical minerals was introduced in Parliament on Wednesday.
The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation Amendment) Bill, 2023 also empowers the central government to exclusively auction mining lease and composite licence for certain critical minerals.
Union Minister for Coal and Mines Pralhad Joshi introduced the bill in Lok Sabha amid continuous slogan-shouting by opposition members over the Manipur issue.
According to the statement of objects and reasons of the bill, the amendments "would facilitate, encourage and incentivize private sector participation in all spheres of mineral exploration for critical and deep-seated minerals".
The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 has already been amended several times earlier.
However, the mineral sector requires certain more reforms particularly for increasing exploration and mining of critical minerals that are essential for economic development and national security in the country, it said.
Critical minerals have gained significance in view of India's commitment towards energy transition and achieving net-zero emission by 2070, the statement said.
The statement further said that the blocks explored by the exploration licence holder would be auctioned for mining lease within a prescribed timeline, which will fetch better revenue to the state governments. The exploration agency shall be entitled to a share in the auction premium payable by the mining lease holder.
Deep-seated minerals such as gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, nickel, cobalt, platinum group of minerals, and diamonds are difficult and expensive to explore and mine as compared to surfacial or bulk minerals and thus share of deep-seated minerals in total mineral production is meager at present. The country is mostly dependent on imports of these minerals.
The proposed exploration licence would facilitate, encourage and incentivize private sector participation in all spheres of mineral exploration for critical and deep-seated minerals.
The mining and exploration of critical minerals is reserved for government entities. Upon removal of these minerals from the said list, exploration and mining of these minerals will be opened up for the private sector as well. As a result, exploration and mining of these minerals is expected to increase significantly in the country.
Opposing the introduction of the bill, N K Premachandran of the Revolutionary Socialist Party said it is against the principle of federalism and will adversely affect public sector undertakings as well as the safety and security of the nation.
He said multinational corporations will benefit from the amendment bill.
Joshi said no objection can be raised on the legislative competence of Parliament with regard to amending the mines and minerals law.
The bill was introduced after a voice vote.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jul 26 2023 | 5:16 PM IST

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