Address green nod for successful mine auction: Official

Elaborating on various gaps in the mineral sector, the joint secretary said that the country is deficient in certain strategic minerals like lithium and cobalt. File photo

Unless issues related to green clearances and land rights are addressed upfront, India may not make much progress in auctioning of mineral blocks in the future, a government official said today.

Only 41 mines -- out of the about 82 mineral blocks put on offer -- have gone under the hammer in last three years.

"I think we are taking time to getting used to the new regime of auction but I am aware of certain concerns because there are issues related to clearances specially the environmental clearances, forest clearances, land rights," Mines Joint Secretary Anil Kumar Nayak said here.

"So these issues are there. Unless these issues are addressed upfront we may not be able to make much progress in these auctions," he said.

He was speaking during India Minerals and Metals Forum.

"In the last three years of the about 82 mineral blocks which were on offer...only 41 blocks could be successfully auctioned," Nayak said.

This year about 106 mineral blocks would be put up for auction, he said, adding that all the concerned states were working towards that.

"Next month on 13th July we are going to have National Mining Conclave at Indore. The basic objective of this conclave is to showcase these 106 mineral blocks which be up for auction," he said.

Elaborating on various gaps in the mineral sector, the joint secretary said that the country is deficient in certain strategic minerals like lithium and cobalt.

"These minerals (lithium and cobalt) would be very much required for electric vehicles for which we have some very ambitious projects in coming years and our country is deficient in these strategic minerals," he said.

With an aim to source and acquire strategic minerals like lithium and cobalt abroad, he said three public sector undertakings -- Nalco, Hindustan Copper and Mineral Exploration Corporation -- have come together and formed a joint venture.

"They (the 3 PSUs) have already formed a joint venture and that has to be operationalised. The main mandate of this joint venture would be to source and acquire strategic minerals like lithium, cobalt abroad. We firmly believe that this should take off. And we would like the private sector and people in the industry to also come and collaborate," he said.

He further said that there were also issues with regard to the free trade agreements that India has entered into with certain countries.

"What I understand is that general feedback is that these free trade agreements are really not working to our advantage...We need to have a re-l0ok at our existing free trade agreements. I am sure that the government is also conscious of the fact that there is a need to provide a level-playing field to our domestic industry," he said. 

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Address green nod for successful mine auction: Official

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