Centre to amend MMDR Act for speedy clearance for mines

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Updated: August 22, 2019 3:17:14 AM

Total peak rated capacity of all 46 blocks on offer will be 100 million tonne. Upadhyaya and Chaudhuri were at a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the coal ministry and FICCI.

Centre, MMDR Act amendment, MMDR Act, mine, FICCI, economy news, Mines and Minerals Development Regulation actAt present, the centre has offered to auction 27 coal blocks for private operators who would be allowed to sell 25% of their production in the open market. (Representative Image: Reuters)

The Centre will make amendments to the Mines and Minerals Development Regulation (MMDR) Act, 2015 in order to enable leaseholders get speedy environment clearance, while allocating new coal blocks to both public and private sectors. The part of the blocks allocated to the public sector would be meant for coal sale, which means the entire coal mined from those blocks can be sold in the open market, coal secretary Sumanta Chaudhuri said.

At present, the centre has offered to auction 27 coal blocks for private operators who would be allowed to sell 25% of their production in the open market. In case they cannot consume the rest 75% of their rated production, they will be allowed to sell it to Coal India at notified prices. In addition, it has offered nine blocks to public sector companies that can sell its entire produce in the open market, Chaudhuri said.

“We will add four more blocks with total reserves of around 80 million tonne for allotment to public sector companies,” said Ashish Upadhyaya, joint secretary, coal ministry.

Total peak rated capacity of all 46 blocks on offer will be 100 million tonne. Upadhyaya and Chaudhuri were at a stakeholders’ meeting organised by the coal ministry and FICCI.

“Private companies selling coal in the open market will see their profits grow by at least 14%. The calculation is based on e-auction premiums and Coal India’s notified price,” Upadhyay said.

Chaudhuri said the government would table an amendments bill in the next session of the parliament to bring about changes in the MMDR Act. The amendment would be made so that lease holders do not have to take an environmental clearance from the state. This would save time between six and twelve months, which can enable the lease holders to develop their blocks quickly, Chaudhuri said. The decision has been made in view of achieving 1 billion tonne production target by 2025-26. CIL chairman and managing director AK Jha, after the 45th annual general meeting, said that CIL wants to increase its production by 50 million tonne every year.

“By 2030 we expect to reach 1.4 billion tonne of production when the demand for coal is likely to get saturated. From here we envisage a drop in consumption of coal due to adequate renewable capacity, for which we have made alternative plans like supplying to our proposed JV fertiliser plant, Talcher Fertilser, coal to liquid projects and coal gasification projects,” Jha said. All such projects are at the drawing board stage, an official added.

Jha said CIL wants to become a net zero company in terms of power consumption, which means it would feed as much as renewable power to the grid as it draws from it. Coal India and NLC India have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture company for solar power generation of 3000 MW and thermal power generation of 2,000 MW.

Jha said CIL has already aligned itself as a corporate partner of International Solar Alliance (ISA) through a contribution of $1 million or a little over Rs 6.75 crore to the ISA corpus. This will help CIL take advantage of ISA’s digital platform and get technical know-how of installing renewable capacity.

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