The government on Monday decided to promulgate an Ordinance to amend the 57-year-old Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act to facilitate auction of hundreds of mining leases for minerals like iron ore, copper, bauxite and limestone. This complements a process initiated recently to auction captive coal blocks cancelled by the Supreme Court and is in sync with the policy to allocate natural resources, as far as possible, only through auction. While auction would ensure transparency and boost government revenue, the changes in mining policy proposed are also investor-friendly. The Ordinance would allow transfer of mining leases and other rights (like prospecting and reconnaissance licences) between firms besides simplifying and speeding up the procedures for granting concessions and providing longer (50 years) and secure tenures. The new regime, besides incentivising technology assimilation by the Indian mineral industry, is also expected to boost raw material security to consumer industries like steel and aluminium makers.