‘Mining auction has increased revenue of Govt’

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 07 Dec 2017 10:02:36


Business Bureau,

IN ORDER to bring about transparency to the allocation of mining licence process and development of the mining sector, the Mines and Minerals Development Regulation Act was altered in 2015. The changes allowed the private players to participate and invest in the mining sector through the auction process. Through the mineral auction process, the Central Government received a revenue of Rs 1.69 lakh crore mineral value out of which the various mining states received Rs 1.28 lakh crore.

“Looking at the figures the mineral mining auction process has become a success. It has benefited the Central Government by increasing its revenue,” said Arun Kumar, Secretary-Ministry of Mines, Government of India, while talking at the 3-day international conference and expo on ‘Mining Industry Vision 2030 and Beyond’ organised by the Mining Engineer’s Association of India (MEAI), Nagpur Chapter on Wednesday.

He said that by putting in place a favourable mining policy the mining sector was poised to clock a 10 per cent growth y-o-y basis. A number of meetings were organised and recommendations from industry were sought to give a boost to the mining sector. Based on the feedback, some of the rules were modified in the mining auction block process like cut in net worth criteria, broadening base of present bidders, increasing mining efficiency, reducing waste of minerals, etc. This gave better results and enhanced the number of participants in the bidding process.

The non-coal mining sector registered a 17 per cent growth by value in 2016-17 and 17.24 per cent growth during the first 6 months of this fiscal year compared to the previous year, he said.

Still, there were certain issues like environment and social demands due to which private firms had been heavily fined. In a Supreme Court judgement, large demands had been raised against private firms in the State of Odisha. These mining firms would be under tremendous financial strain. In spite of this, the industry would survive and come out stronger, he pointed out.

Efforts were being made to make the mining sector more acceptable to the people residing near the mining areas. The District Mining Foundation with Rs 13,000 crore had been established to implement projects in healthcare, drinking water and sanitation for villages near mining areas, he said.

Furthermore, aeromagnetic survey, a common type of geophysical survey, was being conducted covering an area of 8.3 lakh square kilometres at a height of 80 kilometres, he said. The Government was giving more thrust on exploration and wanted more large and serious players from the industry to participate in the process. Hindusthan Copper Limited had taken a decision to ramp up production and mining by more than three-and-a-half times from 3.5 lakh tonnes to 12.5 lakh tonnes. For this, it had awarded all contracts and had spent Rs 250 crore. “Many miners still have a lot of minerals under their existing mines which needs to be extracted,” he stated.

Some companies still had mineral reserves for the next 125 years which needed to be exploited. More money had to be spent on exploration and they needed to expand in a bigger way to meet the future demand of the industry. He expected the mining sector to grow by 10 per cent on year-on-year basis.

The first change to the MMDR Act took 25 years and the last change took 16 years. “Changing rules is possible but changing an Act is a difficult process,” he added.