After an aggressive phase of bidding for mineral blocks earlier, realism has set in and there is moderation now, Mines Secretary Arun Kumar said today. Replying to a question on the issue of high bids, he said: “There is always time of euphoria and there is always a time of realism. So, the realism has set in…on the whole, the bids are now moderating.” Kumar was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of Mining Summit 2017, organised by industry body CII. “JSW bid very aggressively for the blocks in Karnataka. We talked to them and they said that they will save on transportation. And, therefore, they don’t mind bidding high,” he said. “Perhaps the earlier bids would also be workable if the bidders have factored in the local requirement and the local setting,” he said. JSW Steel had won five iron ore mines in Karnataka with an estimated reserve of 111 million tonnes in auction held earlier.
“When something starts up you have euphoria about it and then realism sets in. The percentage of revenue sharing which we are seeing in the auction in the mineral sector has been coming down. And say, on limestone it is now around 25-30 per cent, and which is a fair take for the state,” Kumar said. The mines ministry, which has already auctioned 12 mineral blocks so far in the ongoing fiscal, expects that more that a dozen mines will go under the hammer in the remaining part of 2017-18.
“This year we have already auctioned out successfully 12 mines. With the amendment to the auction rules coming in by November-end or within November we expect that certainly more than 12 will be auctioned. Because the states are waiting for the amendment to be notified,” Kumar said. Replying to a question of National Mineral Policy, he said: “They (committee) will submit a report. They had four meetings and after further consultations we hope to bring it out by 31st of December.