New Delhi – India’s mine auctions are set to begin in July 2019 and conclude by December 2019, a landmark event wherein a quarter of the country’s iron and manganese ore resources will be up for sale for captive users and merchant miners.
“We have the firm view that the auction will start from July-August”, said Dr Niranjan Kumar Singh, Joint secretary in the ministry of mines in the Central government. “By December this process will be completed — this is our tentative time frame”.
There are 46 working mining leases mostly in Odisha for the production of iron, manganese and chromite ores that will expire on March 31, 2020. These account for 53 MnT tonnes of iron and manganese ores or 26% of the total production of these two minerals, Singh said.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests has agreed in principle to give forest and environment clearance to the new owners based on Letters of Intent for a period of two years, Singh added.
“The clearances can be given as grace for two years.The new lease holders can apply for new clearances based on their new mining plans (later),” he said.
These auctions are significant as many 50-year-old leases will be expiring and will be auctioned for the first time under the new Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act as opposed to the policy of allocations earlier that drew flack for lack of transparency.
Interview Credits – Ms Ruchira Singh