A record 441 mining projects cleared in 2008; a rise of 63.94%

Written by Sanjay Jog | Mumbai | Updated: Feb 5 2009, 06:46am hrs
Even as agitations over the land for mining and other infrastructure projects are gaining momentum; Rajasthan, Orissa, Karnataka, Goa, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra continue to be the major destinations for mining projects.

Ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) has cleared 441 mining projects in the calender year 2008 compared to 269 mining projects approved in the calender year 2007, an increase of a record 63.94%.

Of 441 projects, nearly 369 have been proposed in the above given eight states. These approvals were granted as per the environment impact assessment notification of 2006.

The rise in mining approvals is especially due to the Centres move, which has allowed private sector in mining of thirteen minerals like iron ore, manganese ore, chrome ore, sulphur, gold, diamond, copper,lead, zinc, molybdenum, tungsten, nickel and platinum group of minerals. Earlier, these minerals were reserved exclusively for public sector earlier.

Informed sources told FE The rise in mining approvals is also largely because of the National Mineral Policy announced by the Centre in 2008. Besides, the Centre, based on the high power committees report, also plans to revise royalty.

Mining is an eligible activity for obtaining financial support from financial institutions. However, so far only those mining projects which have a substantial component of mining machinery, equipment and buildings are being financed.

The government proposes to take steps to facilitate financing of mine development and also of exploration integral to the mining project. Moreover, the Centre has proposed slew of incentives. Mining being a high-risk venture, access to risk funds from capital markets and venture funds will be facilitated.

Early stage exploration and mining companies will be encouraged and differential-listing requirements through segmented exchanges will be explored. Induction of foreign technology and foreign participation in exploration and mining for high value and scarce minerals will be pursued.

Foreign equity investment in joint ventures for exploration and mining promoted by Indian Companies will be encouraged.

Digging deep

The rise in mining approvals is especially due to the Centres move, which has allowed private sector in mining of thirteen minerals like iron ore, manganese ore, chrome ore, sulphur, gold, diamond, copper,lead, zinc, molybdenum, tungsten, nickel and platinum group of minerals. Earlier, these minerals were reserved exclusively for public sector earlier

Besides, based on the high power committees report, the Centre also plans to revise royalty

A slew of incentives has been proposed. Mining being a high-risk venture, access to risk funds from capital markets and venture funds will be facilitated

Early-stage exploration and mining companies will be encouraged and differential-listing requirements through segmented exchanges will be explored