New Delhi, Sep 22 (IANS) Mineral bearing states have identified 166 mining blocks, of which 82 blocks will be put up for the first phase of auctions in November, union Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Tuesday.
“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,” Tomar told reporters here on the sidelines of an event by industry chamber Assocham.
“The central government will come to the rescue of any state intending to further promote the mining sector but facing problems in auction process,” he said.
The minister said this process was made possible after the passing in March of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, which prescribes auction as the only means of extraction of iron ore and other minerals.
Tomar said public sector undertakings like the Mineral Exploration Corporation, MECON and MSTC can aid states in the organising the auction process.
In his address at Assocham’s mining summit, Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar said that the draft National Mineral Exploration Policy will be put in the public domain in two-three days to invite suggestions from the industry.
“In two months’ time we will have a new exploration policy and funds would be coming to the tune of Rs.400-500 crore per annum and these funds will be used for exploration,” he said.
“We want to have a very conducive policy where exploration can be encouraged through private sector,” he added.
On the problem of mineral waste dumping in Goa, Kumar said: “We are making efforts to resolve the dumping-related issue in Goa and have requested the state government to try and include the area where dumps are located. We are exploring 2-3 options about how to address this problem.”
Tomar had clarified last month that minerals’ auction is the domain of states and the central government has facilitated the process by bringing in transparency and addressing procedural problems. He also said the system of deemed renewal of mines have been done away with and the mines auctioned “will be given for 50 years so that they (allottees) don’t have to run”.