Govt to put 50-60 mines on auction this year
Aamir H Kaki
The government is planning to place 50-60 mines on auction this year. Out of which, six mines have already been auctioned and another 20-25 mines are in the pipeline that will be put up for auction in the next three months, Balvinder Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Mines, said while addressing a gathering at “Workshop on Mineral Concession Rules, 2016” organised by FICCI on Wednesday.
Six mines have already been auctioned and another 20-25 mines are in the pipeline that will be put up for auction in the next three months. He informed that the mines in the states of Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh are in the pipeline for auction.
Kumar further said that the ministry is coming out with an exploration policy, where the private sector can play a very crucial role. “We are trying to simplify the exploration regime. All the data pertaining to exploration will be put on public domain. It will be a good regime tool for those who want to participate in the exploration, he said and added that the exploration policy will be notified in a month. In the meantime, we have identified 100 blocks, which we are going to put on reverse auction.”
Speaking about exports from the mining sector, he was confident that exports will pick up. The global prices of iron ore had earlier increased, but the prices are now coming down. Meanwhile, exports from Goa port has started and we expect that exports from other ports will also start, he added. Industry people are talking to their counterparts in China for exports. Hopefully, they will revive their contracts soon and exports will take place, he added.
On the question of curbing illegal mining, he said, “The government is digitising the auction process. All the mines will be put on cadastral maps and there will be a continuous monitoring through satellite and space application technology. We will identify if any illegal mining is taking place beyond the lease area.”
He mentioned that the mining sector is passing through a transitional as well as transformational phase and has a lot of potential for growth. Kumar said, “The mining sector is picking up growth and has shown 9 percent growth and 21 percent growth in metal ores. Iron ore production has risen sharply from 129 million tonnes in FY 2015 to 155 million tonnes in the current fiscal. So we hope that the mining sector will do better in the future,” he added.