Millennium Post

‘Current permit trend okay for non-coal mines’

The law ministry has advised the mines ministry to continue with existing norms on granting licences for non-coal mines, which was on hold on a directive from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) following a Supreme Court view that natural resources should be auctioned.

‘The law ministry has advised us to carry on with the existing practices for according mining leases till Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Bill, 2011, is passed in Parliament,’ mines secretary Vishwapati Trivedi said.

The MMDR Bill, 2011, which has been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee after being introduced in Lok Sabha last December, has provisions for introducing a more transparent mechanism for granting mining leases through the competitive bidding process.

‘The bill has proposed that where there is confirmed known mineralisation, auction should be the way. But where the mineralisation is not known, it is difficult to auction. There are provisions for both kinds of concessionary systems,’ Trivedi said.

As the Supreme Court had said in its judgement on 2G spectrum case that all natural resources should be auctioned, the PMO had said the issue of allocation of mines as per the existing Act needed to be examined legally before any step could be taken in this direction.

Following this, the mines ministry had sought the law ministry’s opinion on how to go about granting mining leases to new players in the sector.
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