Centre mulls barring non-serious players from future mineral auctions: Pralhad Joshi

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 02, 2020 Published on December 02, 2020

Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi

The Centre is considering bringing stringent provisions to bar non-serious players from future mineral auctions. Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi said that he is in talks with State governments to identify and bar those companies that have been delaying production and sabotaging the mineral auction process.

Speaking at the CII Global Mining Summit, Joshi said, “We are bringing changes in the next round of the mineral auctions to ensure that only serious players can participate. The government’s intention is to maximise revenue and production.”

Joshi said that the Centre had done its part by expediting the auction of mineral leases and transferring clearances. “The leases of a large number of working merchant mines were expiring in March 2020 and had to be auctioned immediately. Our government took a pro-active and industry-friendly step of transforming all the statutory clearances to the new leaseholders by promulgating an ordinance (the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2020). This was a major step to ensure a seamless and continuous supply of raw materials,” he said.

The Ordinance allowed transfer of existing clearances to new lease holders. This was done to ensure that there was no dip in mineral production for want of regulatory approvals. But according to Joshi, some mine-lease holders are not producing enough minerals despite having all approvals in place.

Production hindrance

“With this Ordinance in place, Odisha recently completed the successful auction of a large number of iron ore mines. However, some of the successful bidders are trying to evade the process of the auction by delaying production. I would like to humbly appeal to all miners to not do so,” Joshi said.

Taking a strict stand against those who are delaying production from these mines, he said, “Cases, where people are trying to evade the auction process by delaying production, will be dealt with seriously. In coordination with the State governments, we are contemplating to bring stringent provision in the act so that non-serious players are terminated and barred from future auctions.”

Responding to suggestions made at the Summit, Joshi said that there would be an emphasis in promoting private players in exploration along with other changes in the upcoming reforms to the mining sector.

Elaborating on the reforms on the anvil, he said, “The proposed structural changes in the mining sector aim to increase participation of the private sector in mineral exploration, redefine the norms of exploration for auction of mineral blocks to ensure a seamless transition from exploration to production. They will also redefine the standard of exploration required for auctioning of blocks for prospecting license-cum mining lease and open acreage licensing policy for allocation of mining rights.”

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Published on December 02, 2020
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