Free Press Journal

Mining licences only by auction


NEW DELHI : The government is veering around to auction all mining licences for a fixed number of years, linked with royalty on the extracted minerals, as this will ensure there is no over-exploitation impacting use of the natural resources by the future generations.

The Ministry of Mines is setting up a committee to redraft the Mine and minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill to incorporate this and many other suggestions received from the mineral rich state governments in the consultations held by Mines Minister Narendra Tomar. Consultations started soon after assuming office covered the states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Goa and Karnataka.

The consultation process was initiated in the wake of the ministry officials pointing out difficulty in issuing the mining leases through competitive bidding as the minister was told that it is not prevalent globally since there is no way to know about the exact quantity of the minerals to fix a base price for auction.

Tomar is banking on the recent Supreme Court judgment on the coal blocks allocation as a yardstick for framing the procedure for evolving the auction procedure. The government had already indicated to the Court that once the blocks were cancelled, they could be re-allotted in a fair manner through auction route.

The ministerial committee will be working on changes in the MMDR (Amendment) Bill of the UPA government that was tabled in 2011 but lapsed with the completion of the term of the last 15th Lok Sabha.