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GoM seized of Goa mining ban and mine lease extension: Pralhad Joshi

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 25, 2019 Published on September 24, 2019

Coal and Mines Minister Pralhad Joshi

 

A Group of Ministers (GoM) is aware of the major concerns of the mining industry regarding extension of mining leases and the request for lifting the mining ban in Goa.

Responding to queries about lifting the ban on mining in Goa, Minister for Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi said, “The industry has submitted a memorandum and the GoM is seized of the matter. There are legal issues in that and we are consulting the legal experts of the issue.”

The GoM includes Union Ministers for Finance, Environment, Agriculture, Mining, Commerce and Industries, Petroleum and Law. It is led by Home Minister Amit Shah.

Joshi was speaking at the sidelines of the 53rd Annual General Meeting of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries.

In response to another query on the demand for extension of mining leases expiring in March 2020, Joshi said, “all that is being seized by the GOM and we are deliberating on it.”

FIMI held its AGM on the backdrop of the mining sector going through its ‘most sluggish growth’ in history. In addition to the regular concerns regarding taxation and legislative hurdles, this year the crucial AGM saw industry players gearing to cope with 48 working mining leases expiring on March 31, 2020. Another 281 non-working mining leases are expiring on the same date too, and the industry has again pitched to extend the leases till 2030.

According to industry estimates, such mines are currently supplying 70 million tonnes of iron ore, besides manganese and chrome ore which constitutes about 35 per cent of the current production of these vital raw materials for the steel industry in Eastern sector and Karnataka.

The centre is convinced that these mining leases should not be extended but the state governments should auction these blocks to ensure minimum disruption in raw material availability. Ministries of both mining and steel are convinced that there will be no shortfall of raw material once the mining leases expire. This is also because of the current mine head stocks of iron-ore.

According to the Ministry of Mines, mine head stocks of iron ore stood at 162.845 million tonnes in August this year. Of this, mines in Jharkhand had stocks worth 43.119 million tonnes and Odisha had 94.134 million tonnes. The centre estimates these stocks and imports will last the transition period between cancellation and fresh leases.

Published on September 24, 2019
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