BENGALURU: Union Minister for Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi, on Friday said that provisions will be made to allow states to auction mining blocks under G4 level — a composite prospecting-cum-mining licence — instead of G3 as sought by state governments.
In a crucial meeting to address roadblocks faced by the mining sector in Karnataka, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and Joshi arrived at solutions to many concerns, including constituting a committee to decide on extending the Donimalai mining lease of the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC).
“Citing delay in clearance for auctions under G2 by the time proposals reach them, state governments had sought permission to auction blocks under G3 category. We have decided to make legal changes and allow states to auction mines under G4 category composite licence with a rule that if a company opts for an exit plan, it has to share all data with the Union Government,” Pralhad Joshi said on Friday.
Panel to decide on mine lease renewal
IT was decided in the meeting that a committee headed by the Secretary of Mines, and including stakeholders’ representatives, will be formed to decide on Karnataka’s request for a higher premium and lease renewal of NMDC whose 50-year lease period ended in 2018. “As per our 2015 amendments, there is no provision to renew leases, but PSUs can be given new leases for mines on a fixed premium by the government. Karnataka has sought for a higher premium citing that states will face revenue losses.
A committee will be formed to take a judicious view of the matter and give its decision in three months,” Joshi said, adding that in the period, as per Yediyurappa’s request, 22.5 % over and above the fixed royalty of 15 per cent will be paid to the state. “Whatever the committee’s decision on premium and royalty is, it will be applied retrospectively,” Joshi said.
On the Karnataka government’s request to provide land for industrial purpose in the 13,000 acres held by Bharat Gold Mines Ltd in Kolar Gold Fields, the state has been asked to complete a physical survey in three months while the Mineral Exploration Corporation Ltd will conduct exploration in six months in areas that haven’t been explored to see if any natural minerals are available.
“If any minerals are available, then the state can auction it and benefit out of it and, if it is found not fit for mining, then the land will be given to the Industries Department for an industrial park,” Joshi said. Coal quality issues, coordination with Maharashtra and Odisha for coal pricing and missing coal, etc., were also taken up in the meeting with the assurance of the Central Government’s intervention to sort them out.