Notification on mines auction this month; Khandadhar excluded

Bhubaneswar: The State government will publish the notification for auction of mines by the end of this month. According to sources, the process to auction 10 mines next month is complete, however in the primary phase, Sundergarh district’s Khandadhar mine has been excluded from the auction.

Moreover, Keonjhar’s Mankadmocha iron ore mine has also been excluded from the auction, informed sources. Hence, as against 12 mines, 10 mines will be auctioned next month.

Sources said, as the Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) survey and other ancillary processes are not complete, both the mines have been excluded from the auction. Out of 10 mines which will be auctioned next month, 3 are iron ore mines, 5 Manganese and one each of Lime Stone and Bauxite.

“In the first phase we will auction 10 mines, the notification of which will be out by the end of November. Subsequently, transaction advisor SBI Capital Markets Limited (SBI Cap) will begin the tender process and we will complete the auctions by December,” said Mines minister Prafulla Mallick.

The State government has also set up a committee for the auction of mines. The said committee has identified mines, estimated volume, set timelines and prices and has briefed the government to expedite the mining process, added sources.

On the other hand, experts have raised concerns over the environmental clearances and approvals required under the Mineral Rules of the amended MMDR Act, the lack of which could land the leaseholders in trouble after the auctions.

“Many variations could emerge going forward and some clearances could get stuck. If it happens then leaseholders who would have already paid the money will face a lot of trouble,” said former Mines director B.K. Mohanty.

Earlier last month, the Rajya Sabha legislation subordinate committee expressed its displeasure over the delay in completion of mines auction in the State. The committee had also asked the government to submit a report within 10 days. According to sources, the State government had responded to the committee through its Planning and Coordination department.