Centre in favour of mine auctions, but States seek more clarity in rules

Twesh Mishra New Delhi | Updated on June 20, 2019 Published on June 20, 2019

Karnataka begins auction of mining leases expiring in March 2020

The Centre wants States to auction mines without any delay. Some State governments, however, want to do it after getting more clarity on the mining lease area limit for fresh blocks. They also want more clarity on mining leases which are expiring in March, 2020.

“The Centre has to clarify whether a bidder exceeding the area limits specified in the law can be allowed to participate in bids for smooth conduct of auction. Bids were invited by Odisha in March, 2018 for some mining blocks, but the process remained incomplete due to stay order under litigation,” a State government official said.

In October last year, the States were advised to start auctions by July 1, 2019 so that the incoming miner has time to take preparatory steps to make the mine functional.

While for fresh blocks the number of mines on offer is decided by respective States, there are 334 mining leases that are due to expire in March, 2020. Of these, only 49 mines are operational, while the remaining 285 are non-working . With 184 mining leases, Goa has the highest number of mining leases that are due to expire in 2020. Interestingly, none of these leases is for working mines.

“There are 46 mining leases in Karnataka that are expiring in March, 2020. Of these, we plan to auction 33 blocks. The remaining blocks do not have a favourable output projection,” NS Prasanna Kumar, Director Mines & Geology in the Karnataka government, told BusinessLine.

“Of the 33 blocks to be auctioned, four have already been put on the block. We expect to put another eight out for bids in the first week of August. We have merged 15 blocks into 9, added more land to make bigger and more viable blocks. ” he added.

Published on June 20, 2019

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