Call for debate on draft Mines Bill

Call for debate on draft Mines Bill

'Few provisions detrimental to small players'

Some of the provisions are detrimental to the interest of small entrepreneurs, opined President of Mining Engineers’ Association of India, V D Raja Gopal. Speaking on the second and concluding day of the national seminar on “Challenges in the changed scenario of mining” organised by Mines Safety Association, he said some of the provisions like bidding to dispose of mineral rights would spell doom for small entrepreneurs. He felt only a few rich mine owners would capitalise on bidding with small players being blocked from entering the mining sector.

The provision for expanding the area covered under ‘prospecting licence’ to 5,000 sq kms from the present 25 sq kms could result in only a few entrepreneurs bagging a lion’s share of leases, he said. The bill proposes to replace the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. Some of the provisions can also adversely affect public sector mining companies, he pointed out.For instance, the provision to do away with reservation of mineral bearing areas in favour of PSUs can cause losses to government-owned companies.

Welcome provisions

However, there are several welcome provisions in the bill. The move to introduce ad-valorem duty structure and making it mandatory for mining companies to channelise a part of their profit to socio-economic development would help the industry and society, he felt.

N M Sangode, former Controller of Mines, Indian Bureau of Mines, said the provisions in the bill will help in attracting foreign as well as domestic investments in the mining sector.  He said it would also help in expansion of mining trade, employment generation and sustainable mineral development.
 N L Nanda and Shailendra Kumar, both from National Mining Development Corporation, underlined the need for incorporating state-of-the-art scientific and technical process in mining. He said the country needs to achieve optimal productivity by utilising information technology for mine planning and designing.