Auction of identified mine blocks to begin in November: Tomar

New Delhi, Sept. 22 (ANI): Union Minister for Steel and Mines Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday informed that the government is planning to draft the National Mineral Exploration Policy in public domain within two to three days.

Speaking at the ‘India Mining Summit’ organized by ASSOCHAM, he said the Centre will start the auction of 80-90 identified mine blocks by November this year.

Tomar further said that the government would assist the states facing problems with exploration and mining.

“All the states are participating in the auction process as per their capacity and a total of 146 blocks have been marked by all states, out of which 82 blocks will be auctioned in the first phase,” he said.

Balvinder Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of Mines, also spoke at the event and said that the ministry would soon draft its report on ‘National Mineral Exploration Policy’ in public domain.

He also invited suggestions from the industry, both public and private sector domains.

“We want to have a very conducive policy where exploration can be encouraged through private sector. The ministry will draft new policies and rules for offshore exploration and mining,” he said.

“We hope that in two months time, these rules would be ready and by the end of this year we will see that all the 80 blocks are allotted for exploration as well as for mining purposes because there is still tremendous scope for sand in the southern region,” he added.

The Secretary, Ministry of Mines, further said that a granite council has been formed which would address various issues and problems.

Sharing his views on the issue of transfer of existing captive mining leases, Kumar said, “There should have been provision for transfer of mines which have been allotted earlier but unfortunately 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.”

Talking about mineral waste dumping in Goa, the Secretary said, “We are making efforts to resolve the dumping related issues in Goa and have requested the state government to try and include the area where dumps are located because as per a Supreme Court judgement, dumps are a part of mining lease and disposing off dumps will amount to mining activity, under these circumstances we are exploring two to three options about how to address this dumping problem which has aggravated in Goa and exists in other states as well.”

Conceding that India’s mining industry is passing through a rough patch, he said that the manufacturing sector is hardly witnessing any growth with sectors such as mining sector, iron ore, aluminium, copper and steel amongst the weaker. (ANI)

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