The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) on Friday said the government should put in place all in-principle approvals, particularly those related to environment and forest, before putting a non-coal mine block up for auction, to ensure good response from the miners.
“When you get a mine through auction, you expect to make it operational as soon as possible and not waste time in getting various clearances for months,” FIMI president H Noor Ahmed said in New Delhi.
Also, seeking to change the anomaly in relation to the validity of mining licences and the tenure of environment cleances, he said while under the MMDR Amendment Act, 2015, mining leases are granted for a maximum of 50 years, the ministry of environment, forests and climate change (MoEFCC) gives validity of environment clearance for a maximum period of 30 years.
Since the MMDR Ordinance came in January 2015, only eight mines have been successfully auctioned so far. Given the tepid response, he suggested that the government should analyse and review the existing auctioning system in terms of reserve price, quality of exploration data and hastening the process for statutory clearances, besides non-linkage with the end-use industry.
“If the progress on allocation is so slow, then government will find it difficult to enhance production,” Ahmed said.
The industry body also said that in line with the existing captive leases, the term of non-captive leases should also be extended till March 31, 2030. The holder of the existing non-captive leases have, over the years, invested a huge amount in exploration and plant & machinery.
“We believe the existing non-captive leases whose term will end on March 31, 2020 should be brought at par with the captive mining leases. There is also a need to give the first right of refusal to the existing holders when they would come up for auctioning as in the case of captive leases,” he said.
FIMI also wans the government to completely withdraw export duty on iron ore of up to 61% Fe content from 30% ad valorem now, since the duty makes exports unviable. There was a stockpile of 144 million tonne (mt) as on March 31, 2016 at the mine-heads of the country, mostly in Odisha and Jharkhand.
“Similar is the situation for bauxite and chrome ore. Whatever is being exported is not required in the country. There is an export duty of 15% on bauxite and 30% on chromite. It is, therefore, necessary that export duties on bauxite and chromite are also removed,” he said.