States Asked to Is­sue Min­ing Leases to Firms

NO­TI­FI­CA­TION LEASES TO BE IS­SUED TO COM­PA­NIES THAT WERE GRANTED LET­TERS OF IN­TENT BE­FORE THE AMENDED ACT CAME INTO FORCE

Resource Digest - - CONTENTS -

The mines min­istry is­sued a no­ti­fi­ca­tion to states to is­sue min­ing leases to com­pa­nies that were granted Let­ters of In­tent (Lois) be­fore the Mines and Min­er­als (De­vel­op­ment & Reg­u­la­tion) Amend­ment Act, 2015 came into force.

The ex­tra­or­di­nary gazette no­ti­fi­ca­tion, “the Mines and Min­er­als De­vel­op­ment and Reg­u­la­tion) re­moval of Dif­fi­cul­ties Or­der 2017”, is likely to ben­e­fit about 70 min­ing leases that were ear­lier saved un­der sec­tion 10(a)2c of the Act from laps­ing next week.

In the no­ti­fi­ca­tion, the min­istry has tweaked the norms to al­low ob­tain­ing of en­vi­ron­ment clear­ance for such mines af­ter ex­e­cu­tion of the deeds. The min­eral-rich state gov­ern­ments had is­sued Lois to the mines about two years ago, while the Act ne­ces­si­tated that they be con­verted into min­ing leases be­fore Jan­uary 12, 2017.

The no­ti­fi­ca­tion fol­lows an opin­ion from the of­fice of At­tor­ney Gen­eral of In­dia, which said that the mines min­istry should di­rect state gov­ern­ments to ex­e­cute the pend­ing leases be­fore Jan­uary 11. The or­der has asked state gov­ern­ments to ac­cord­ingly process and ex­pe­dite ap­pli­ca­tions for grant of min­ing lease, in­cor­po­rat­ing the con­di­tion that com­pa­nies can com­mence min­ing only af­ter ob­tain­ing reg­u­la­tory ap­provals from the Union min­istries of en­vi­ron­ment, for­est and cli­mate change, and tribal af­fairs.

A to­tal of 317 such Lois were is­sued by state gov­ern­ments be­fore Jan­uary 2015 when the gov­ern­ment pro­mul­gated an or­di­nance to change an older law that per­mit­ted grant of min­ing con­ces­sions to com­pa­nies by the states on a dis­cre­tionary ba­sis. The amended min­ing Act al­lows grant of min­ing leases only through trans­par­ent on­line auc­tions.

The Lois ex­e­cuted across 12 states in­clud­ing Odisha, Jhark­hand and Kar­nataka were given a two-year win­dow to be con­verted to min­ing con­tracts. The mines min­istry was ap­pre­hen­sive that cancellation of the Lois could re­sult in mass lit­i­ga­tion. The min­istry ex­pects the ex­e­cu­tion of min­eral leases to push its plan to in­crease min­ing sec­tor's share in GDP one per­cent­age point in the next three-four years. The min­ing sec­tor presently con­trib­utes 2.6% to the GDP.

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