Government plans to auction over 100 mines in six months
Having secured Rs 1.81 lakh crore in its kitty from e-auction of 50 mineral blocks, the government is looking to put on block another 100 mines in the next six months, according to the ministry of mines.
The government so far has auctioned 50 mines, including 23 limestone, 17 iron ore, 4 gold, 2 each of manganese and graphite blocks and one bauxite and diamond block each.
There are 102 blocks in pipeline to be auctioned by March 2019 in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana and Assam, as per a report by the ministry of mines on progress of block auction.
These include 42 limestone, 19 bauxite, 11 manganese ore, 8 copper, 6 iron ore, 6 graphite, 3 zinc, 2 emerald, 2 gold, 1 iron ore & manganese, 1 dolomite/limestone and 1 copper ore. As per the report, Jharkhand will auction the highest 20 blocks followed by 16 by Rajasthan and 13 each by Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Of these 102, the government plans to auction two limestone blocks in October. Of the two blocks, one is in Andhra Pradesh and the other is in Gujarat.
The Chintalayapalle-Abdullapuram-Korumanipalli (CAK) limestone block in Andhra Pradesh with reserves of 104.68 million tonnes (MT) will be auctioned on October 12. The Bhatvadiya block in Gujarat with reserves of 477.2 MT will go under the hammer on October 17.
The Centre had earlier said it was considering granting all approvals, including environmental clearance, to mineral blocks before putting them up for sale, a move that may give a push to the auctions. The idea is to fast-track auctioning and iron out issues related to green clearances and land rights are addressed upfront.
It has given in-principle approval to provide single clearance for environment and forest to the new lease holders of the 288 mining leases expiring in two years. From the 50 mineral blocks auctioned so far since 2015, the government will earn a revenue of Rs 1.81 lakh crore over the lease period.
To ensure transparency in the mineral sector, the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015, was passed by Parliament in 2015.