Millennium Post

Govt defers auction of 2 iron ore mines

New Delhi: The government has deferred the auction of two iron ore mines having reserves of 93.87 million tonnes in Odisha, according to a Mines Ministry report.

The government has not given any reason for deferring the auction of the mines.

While the Chandiposhi iron ore block in Sundergarh, Odisha, has reserves of 47.07 million tonnes (MT), the Purheibahal block has reserves of 46.80 MT, the report said.

The notice inviting tender for both the mines was released on February 23.

The ministry is also planning to auction two limestone blocks in Chhattisgarh next month. Both the mines have "no end-use reservation", the ministry said.

The government so far has auctioned 50 mines, including 23 limestone, 17 iron ore, four gold, two each of manganese and graphite blocks and one each of bauxite and diamond block.

From the 50 mineral blocks auctioned so far since 2015, the government will earn a revenue of Rs 1.81 lakh crore over the lease period.

To ensure transparency in the mineral sector, Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015 was passed by Parliament in 2015.

In a bid to give a push to the auctions, the Centre had earlier said it was considering granting all approvals, including environmental clearance, to mineral blocks before putting them up for sale.

The government had earlier said unless issues related to green clearances and land rights are addressed upfront, India may not make much progress in auctioning mineral blocks in the future.

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