With over 63,000 mining leases stuck up mostly for want of green clearances, the government directed the states to secure conditional clearances before auctioning them to prospective bidders. The Centre has also asked the states to obtain necessary permissions from land owners and those having occupation rights before leases are bid out.
Apart from these two aspects, the other criteria set for bidding out mineral resources is similar to the auction methodology for coal blocks, barring the fact that in coal sector, mines were auctioned, while in cases of minerals like bauxite and iron ore leases would be auctioned.
The government has claimed that coal bearing states would gain Rs 3.35 lakh crore in revenue from recent auctions of 29 coal blocks and allotment of 38 mines to PSUs, while consumers would be benefited by Rs 66,000 crore in terms of lower electricity tariff. Last month, Parliament passed the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015 paving way for auction 199 leases of major minerals, including iron ore, bauxite, limestone and manganese.
According to the Union mines ministry’s draft mineral auction rules 2015, the states can bid out composite licence by combining prospecting-cum-mining leases where the quantum of mineralisation is unknown. They mandate the state governments to “obtain all necessary permissions from the owners of the land and those having occupation rights.”
The rules also makes it obligatory for the states to secure “conditional clearance on the basis of recommendation of the committee constituted for the purposes of forest clearance under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 and wildlife clearance under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 or any other law for the time being in force, so as to enable commencement of operations.”