Millennium Post

Mines Ministry extends leases of government firms

Ahead of auction of non-coal minerals, the Mines Ministry has extended the leases of government companies which had applied for renewal in time.

An order of the ministry has said that in exercise of the power to remove difficulties in the MMDR Amendment Ordinance, “the tenure of the mining leases of all government companies or corporations whose mining leases have been expired and renewal applications have been made in time or which are due to expire...will stand to be extended till March 31, 2020”. While transition provisions for extension of the lease period for 15 years for captive mines, and five years for non- captive mines, have been provided for in the MMDR Amendment Ordinance, 2015, the ministry said that there is no such provision for leases of government firms.

President Pranab Mukherjee had last month given assent to the Ordinance that paves the way for auctioning of mines containing minerals such as iron ore and bauxite.

It amends certain provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.
The Ordinance provides for granting mines for 50 years through a competitive bidding route, including e-auction. The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had approved the Ordinance on January 5.

It empowers the Centre to prescribe terms and conditions and procedure for bidding which include production sharing or royalty payment or a combination of both. The Mines Ministry earlier said it would ensure greater transparency and also an increased share for states from the sector.

Unlike in the 1957 Act, there would be no renewal of any mining concession. The tenure of mineral concession has also been increased from existing 30 years to 50 years. Thereafter, the mining lease would be put up for auction.

The mines, which were already granted before the ordinance, would also be deemed to have been given for a period of 50 years.
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