Six states launch auction for critical mineral exploration licenses, ET EnergyWorld

New Delhi: In a significant development aimed at boosting mineral exploration in India, six states have announced the auction of exploration licenses (EL) for 29 critical and deep-seated minerals. The states of Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh have collectively issued Notice Inviting Tenders (NIT) for 12 EL blocks, under the amended Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, effective from August 17, 2023.

The exploration license regime, introduced through the Mineral (Auction) Amendment Rules, 2024, is set to enhance the exploration and mining of minerals specified in the Seventh Schedule. The initiative began with Karnataka and Rajasthan on March 6, 2024, with Karnataka auctioning a block in Raichur & Yadgir districts and Rajasthan three blocks in nine districts. Subsequently, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh followed suit, expanding the reach of this new exploration framework.

The state governments have meticulously prepared for these auctions, with the central government providing the necessary approvals to expedite the process. The ministry of Mines has also supported the states by releasing the model tender document on March 1, 2024.

Under this regime, licensees are permitted to conduct reconnaissance and prospecting operations to identify potential mining areas. Successful bidders will earn a share of revenue from the auction premium for 50 years as per their bid. Additionally, the Exploration License can be transferred post-execution, encouraging further investment and participation from the private sector.

This collaborative effort across six states signifies a concerted push towards unlocking the potential of India’s mineral resources, aiming to foster economic growth and enhance the country’s exploration and mining landscape.

  • Published On Mar 15, 2024 at 12:42 PM IST

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