New Delhi: Mineral-rich states such as Odisha and Jharkhand have identified about 200 mines, including 12 iron ore and 168 limestone blocks, that can be auctioned once the Centre finalises rules for bidding process.
The development comes against the backdrop of government auctioning 33 coal blocks so far to garner a massive over Rs 2 lakh crore.
“Mineral-rich states have identified 168 limestone blocks, 16 bauxite mines, 12 iron ore mines and 3 manganese ore mines most of which may be auctioned in the first round after the rules and regulations are finalised,” a Mines Ministry official told PTI.
Parliament last month passed the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015, paving the way for auction of mines bearing minerals like iron ore, bauxite and limestone.
These 200 mines are mainly concentrated in Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Odisha, the official said, adding auction process by the states may begin in June.
The Mines Ministry has asked the states to furnish the list of mines, functional and non-functional, mineral wise and clearance wise with their present status, the official added.
The Centre has formulated draft regulations for mines’ auction, on which it would seek views of states soon.
The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, empowers the Centre to prescribe terms and conditions and procedures for bidding which include production sharing or royalty payment or a combination of both.
Earlier this week, Steel and Mines minister Narendra Singh Tomar had said, “Since mines is a state subject, auctioning of mines will be conducted by states in which the role of the Centre would be limited to framing the rules to be followed in the process.”
Tomar has also said the states will not require approval from the Centre for auction of mines and if they desire they can set aside mines for their PSUs.
He has added that as many as 10 minerals will be auctioned for the first time under simplified and transparent rules to attract investment in the sector.
The government has roped in investment banker SBI Capital Markets to suggest rules for auctions as well as bidding parameters.
The government is also contemplating to rope in PSUs like SAIL and NMDC in the process of exploration of mines in addition to the Geological Survey of India.