Minerals worth at least Rs 50,000 crore can be auctioned from 13-15 blocks in the remaining four months of the current fiscal with the upcoming proposed amendments in the auctioning rules, a top official of the Ministry of Mines said. These 13-15 mines could include limestone, iron ore, emerald and molybdenum among others. “We would like the progress to pick up. We are certainly hoping that we will easily cross the Rs one lakh crore figure for the current year, with new 13-15 blocks expected in the remaining four months of FY18,” Union Mines secretary Arun Kumar said here last evening.
He was speaking on the sidelines of the golden jubilee celebration of Hindustan Copper Ltd. “We have auctioned about Rs 50,000 crore worth of minerals from 12 mines in this financial year so far,” the senior official said. The government has been able to auction Rs 1.80 lakh crore worth of minerals for 33 mines during the last two years, he said.
The Mines ministry was in the process of bringing some amendments to fuel an interest from private investors in the mining sector, after some concerns were raised. “The amendments are now with the Ministry of Law for its approval and the notification of the proposed amendments can be expected by this November, ” Kumar said. The proposed amendments will relax the eligibility criteria, norms for states using discretion in bidding process, making end use terms more favourable, adjustment of royalty and fees from the upfront fees paid by the successful bidder and giving timeline to begin operations block winners.
Kumar said, these new provisions are expected to bring the auction process “easier and attractive”. The new rules will mandate a bidder to begin operations within three years and extension of another two years can be allowed during conditions beyond control, he said.