The Centre has asked all states to begin the auction of mining leases expiring in the next two years by July 2019 to avert any shortage of minerals. In a meeting of coordination-cum-empowered committee (CCEC) of 21 mineral-rich states held last month, the Mines Ministry asserted that "all states must start auction of mining leases expiring in 2020 by July 2019 to avoid any shortage of minerals and ensure seamless transition of mines from existing leaseholder to the new leaseholder to whom lease will be granted through auction," according to the minutes of the meeting. The Mines Ministry was also of view that exploration for all mining leases expiring in 2020 must be completed by December and in case any help is needed, Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd (MECL) and Geological Survey of India (GSI) should be approached, the minutes said. A total of 348 non-captive mining leases will expire on March 31, 2020. The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) had earlier expressed concerns over the expiry of the existing mining leases in March 2020, which it said may affect availability of raw materials for the Indian mining industry if leases are not renewed in time. Meanwhile, the government has so far auctioned 43 mineral blocks. The states concerned will earn a revenue of Rs 1.55 lakh crore over the lease period. Work is being carried out in around 102 mineral blocks.