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Mines’ auctions will start in 2 months: Tomar in Assocham meet

During a recent event of Assocham on mining, Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar informed the media that mines’ auction will start from November. He also mentioned that all the legal work and other formalities related to these auctions have been completed where iron ore and bauxite mines will be available for auction along with other mines containing numerous minerals.

Tomar said, “Auction formalities have been done. States are ready to participate and I am confident that the auction process will start in November. States have identified 166 blocks of which in the first phase 82 blocks will go under the hammer”.

He also clarified that the Centre government will provide the requisite support and assistance to the state government in the process of mines’ auction.

Due to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act 2015, which passed as of late in March this year, the auctions were made compulsory. As per the new law, the auctions are the only way to allow mining of iron ore and other minerals.

Tomar said MECON, MECL and MSTC can aid states in the auction process. While MECON will be the transaction advisor and will conduct location survey, Mineral Exploration Corporation can prepare survey reports for the mines and MSTC can build the auction platform.

Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar assured the industry that Centre will look into the issue of captive mines not being a part of a merger or acquisition deal under the MMDR Act. He added, ”There should have been a provision for transfer of mines which have been allotted earlier but the law department has given very clear opinion that we cannot transfer any mining lease whether it is existing or even for those which would be allotted through auction”.

CEO of Trimex Group, Pradeep Koneru lauded the government’s steps in enhancing the ease of doing business. The government must also consider giving impetus to the sand beach mining industry by addressing some of this industry’s concerns, he added.

Further he said, “Imposition of export duty tax on Ilmenite by previous government has severely affected us. We have also requested that we be allowed to process monozite and give back the uranium to the government.”

VV Mineral Technical consultant C Swamydas said auction will hamper the growth of the heavy mineral mining industry and result in inflated prices as inexperienced and financially incapable parties may quote high in the auction and abandon the project being unviable.