82 mining blocks earmarked for minerals’ auction: Tomar

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) The government has earmarked 82 mining blocks for the first phase of auctions to be held during October-November, Steel and Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said on Friday.

“Another 96 blocks have been identified for phase two. This would be based on data provided by the Mineral Exploration Corporation (MECL) to the states,” Tomar said here at a roundtable here organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry.

The minister said he had already visited the mineral-rich states to sensitise them on the opportunities for auction.

“The private sector would be brought in as an equal partner into the process once the guidelines and framework have been finalized,” Tomar said.

Speaking to reporters later, he said the central government will hand over a list of 58 explored blocks to 12 producing states.

“Mines auction is expected to begin from October-November. MECL has handed over reports of 58 blocks, which can be auctioned immediately, to states,” he said.

The minister said 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 don’t have to run”.

The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 was passed by parliament in March, paving the way for auction of minerals like iron ore, bauxite and limestone.

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