New Delhi: The Mines Ministry has proposed a a clause to enable the central government to auction mineral blocks in case the states face difficulties in sale of such mines.
The move aims at ensuring continuous supply of minerals in the country with the auction of more number of mineral blocks on regular basis.
Under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Act, the states conduct auction of mineral concessions.
“To ensure continuous supply of minerals in the country, more number of minerals blocks are required to be brought into auction on regular basis. Any delay in the conduct of auction has substantial impact on the availability as well as prices of minerals.
“Hence, it is proposed to provide the power to central government to conduct auction in cases where the state governments face challenges in conducting the auction or fail to conduct auction,” the mines ministry has said.
In cases, where the Centre would auction the blocks, the revenue from such mines will accrue to state governments only, the ministry has clarified.
Since 2015, central exploration agencies have handed over geological reports of 143 mineral blocks to various state governments which are ready for auction. Out of these, only seven blocks have been auctioned by the states.
Further, mining leases in relation to 334 blocks expired on March 31, 2020, out of which 46 were working mines.
The Ministry of Mines is pursuing with the states since early 2019 for early auction of these blocks, ensuring continuity in production of minerals. However, only 28 blocks have been auctioned till date.