Protect existing explorers’ ‘right to mine’: FIMI

Suresh P Iyengar Mumbai | Updated on May 21, 2020

The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries has urged the government not to cancel the mining concession vested by the Mines and Minerals Development Act to existing miners.

Announcing the fourth tranche of the economic stimulus package, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the government will introduce a seamless composite exploration-cum-mining-cum-production regime, and auction 500 mining blocks. The government also plans to cancel the concession granted to the mines that have not started production for long.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, FIMI said the existing reconnaissance permit and prospecting license (RP/PL) holders have invested huge resources for long to undertake risky exploration activities and have helped India to discover valuable mineral deposits. Acknowledging their valuable contribution to the country, the government had introduced Section 10A (2)(b) in 2015 to guarantee these concessionaries the right to mine the deposit if they satisfy certain conditions, thereby creating vested rights with such concession holders.

However, there is unconfirmed news that the government would scrap the Section 10A while introducing a composite exploration-cum-mining- cum-production license regime to allow seamlessness in the mining sector.

RK Sharma, General Secretary, FIMI, said despite the lapse of five years, not a single RP/PL holders has been granted their rights to mine.

In all cases, he said the concession-holders have satisfied all regulatory conditions and have established the evidence of mineral content in the granted areas by conducting reconnaissance or prospecting at their own expense; they have vested rights for mining lease.

If the government fails to keep its commitment, it will lead to irreparable loss of investor confidence in Indian mineral sector, besides multiple litigations in courts. It will also send a wrong signal to both domestic and international investors about certainty in India’s mineral policy, said Sharma.

Published on May 21, 2020

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