Auction of 8 iron ore mines, 3 graphite blocks, 1 limestone block in Aug/Sep

According to an official document the Government will auction a total of 12 mineral blocks in the months of August and September. This includes 8 iron ore mines from Karnataka, 3 graphite blocks in Jharkhand and 1 limestone block in Andhra Pradesh. Iron ore mines is to be auctioned in September while graphite and limestone blocks is to be auctioned next month.

Details of the Tender

Tenderers engaged in the production of sponge, pig iron (intermediate product of the iron industry), steel and pellets can bid for the iron ore auction.While greenfield (unused lands which do not require demolishing or remodelling) and brownfield (need to be modified or upgraded) cement plants with captive consumption purpose within the state can bid for limestone blocks.

The NIT (Notice Inviting Tender) for iron ore mines was released in January, for limestone block in April and for graphite blocks in May.

Granting approvals 

The Centre plans on granting approvals that include environmental clearances before putting the blocks on sale. The Government emphasized that unless clearances and approvals are addressed, it will be difficult to foster more bidders for auctions.

‘It is the work of Niti Aayog to deliberate on such issues. Definitely that issue is in their knowledge and Niti Aayog is working on it. We also want that this kind of system is set up. But for that it will take a little time and we are in discussions on this,’ Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said.

NITI Aayog is a policy think tank for the Government of India. Amitabh Kant, its CEO said that MMDR (Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation) Act must be analyzed once again for possible improvements.

Auction and revenue 

For the 43 mineral blocks auctioned so far, the government intends a ₹1.55 lakh cr revenue over the lease period. Work on 102 more mines is in progress for auction in the future.

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