BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has identified 16 mineral blocks for which auction process would start by the end of October.
“The State Government has taken very proactive steps for auctioning the mines. Sixteen blocks have been identified and the Government is hopeful to start auctioning the blocks by end of October,” Union Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar told reporters after a review meeting with Chief Secretary G C Pati here.
Kumar said he is visiting the mineral-bearing States with a request to start auctioning of mineral blocks in accordance with the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulations) Amendment Act, 2015.
The Union Mines Secretary also urged the State Government to constitute the District Mineral Foundation Trust at the earliest.
“The proposed Trust of the mineral-bearing districts will get contribution of Rs 200 crore to Rs 400 crore from miners annually. We have requested the Chief Secretary to constitute DMF in all the districts as soon as possible so that funds can be transferred to the respective Trust immediately,” Kumar said.
Since the funds will be utilised for socio-economic development of the areas affected due to mineral exploration and welfare of the people engaged in mining activities, Kumar said the Centre will soon indicate the percentage of royalty to be contributed to the Trust fund.
The Chief Secretary said the State Government will soon notify the auctioning of mines in the State. Possibly, the auction process will start by October end. The Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) survey of mineral blocks has already started and those blocks explored up to G2 and G3 levels will be put up for auction.
Of the 16 identified blocks, 10 are in G2 exploration States and are ready for auction. The G2 level blocks include six iron ore mines in Sundargarh district, two manganese blocks in Keonjhar district and two limestone deposits __ one each in Malkangiri and Nuapada districts.
There are four iron ore mines in G3 stage and two manganese blocks. While the iron ore blocks are located in Sundargarh district, the manganese ore deposits are in Keonjhar district.
Meanwhile, the State Government has constituted a committee headed by the Development Commissioner to streamline auction of major minerals. The first meeting of the committee is scheduled on July 28.
Pati said the draft rules framed for the DMF are being examined by the Law department.