HC stays e-tender for calcite mining in Visakhapatnam

The Hindu | Sumit Bhattacharjee | April 11, 2021

The Andhra Pradesh High Court has put on hold for three weeks the e-tender for ‘working of calcite mining lease’ in 8.725 hectares at Nimmalapadu village in Ananthagiri mandal of Visakhapatnam district, on ‘raising-cum-sale contract basis’ floated by the Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC).

The High Court passed the order after hearing a writ petition filed by Sri Abhaya Girijana Mutually Aided Labour Contract Cooperative Society on Saturday.

The cooperative society has been trying to get the lease for mining since the last two decades. But, it was rejected by the APMDC every time. Earlier, the Birla group had the lease over the mines and it was passed to the APMDC after a Supreme Court order in 1995.

Earlier, the cooperative society had also proposed a tripartite agreement with the State government and a private party, but it was rejected, said Ravi Rebbapragada, Executive Director of Samata.

Mr. Ravi had played a key role in getting the Samata judgement from the Supreme Court which protects the tribal rights and acts as a benchmark for all tribal related issues along with the Panchayat Extension to the Scheduled Areas Act (PESA) and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (FRA).

‘No grama sabha held’

According to Mr. Ravi, the cooperative society’s pleas were ignored and neither did the APMDC care to hold a grama sabha with the tribal people from the region, before floating the e-tender, in violation of the PESA, FRA and Samata and Niyamgiri judgments of the Supreme Court.

Moreover, the cooperative society contested that one of the clause in the e-tender said that the lease would be be given to a tribal person, not to a tribal cooperative. “This provision will facilitate benami trading, as no tribal person has the mining equipment listed in the contractual clauses,” he said.

The members of the cooperative society said that clauses should be modified and cooperatives be allowed to place their bids, and grama sabha be held as per the laws embedded in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution. The area earmarked for mining is rich in mineral and the calcite is pure and free of silica. The tribal people need to get the benefit of the resources, said Mr. Ravi.

New life to the mining sector

The Sanghai Express | April 11, 2021
Pralhad Joshi
Contd from prev issue
This Amendment Act is set to redefine the standard of exploration required for auctioning partially explored mineral blocks for Prospecting License-cum-Mining Lease. This will boost the seamless transition from exploration to production and encourage participation of private players. The amended provisions in the Act also ensure better clarity on ‘Mining without Lawful Authority’ to save leaseholders from unjustified penalties under other litigations.

We have also fulfilled a long-standing demand by making local Members of Parliament a member of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) Governing Council to make DMF more outcome-oriented. Arrangements have also been made to keep a check on misuse of DMF funds so that inclusive development of those affected by mining can be ensured.

There are several other changes in the MMDR Act that will boost ease of doing business in the mineral mining sector and make it more competitive and productive. The MMDR Amendment Act, 2021 will pave the way for the creation of almost 55 lakh employment opportunities along with having a multiplier effect on several other sectors. Prime Minister Modi has ensured that the mineral mining sector gets to play its actual role of being the foundation of the nation’s economy. Over several meetings, he has laid out an envisioned plan wherein the sector is taking allied industries on a growth course to becoming a $5 trillion economy. I am happy that these amendments are in line with his vision and confident that the sector has a major role to play in defining us as a New India. PIB The author is Union Minister of Coal, Mines & Parliamentary Affairs

APMDC has no right to issue tender for calcite mining in scheduled area: EAS Sarma

The Hindu | April 09, 2021

‘It should be first discussed in the local adivasi Gram Sabha’
Former secretary to GOI and former Commissioner for Tribal Welfare, A.P. Government, E.A.S. Sarma, has taken strong exception to the way in which the AP Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC) has issued an E-Tender for ‘Working of Calcite Mining Lease’ of 8.725 hectares at Nimmalapadu village in Ananthagiri mandal in Visakhapatnam district, on ‘Raising-cum-sale contract basis’.

In a letter to the Chief Secretary, he stated that the APMDC has no right to unilaterally issue such a notification and it was in gross violation of the provisions embedded in the Panchayat (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act (FRA).

Speaking to The Hindu, he said that both the Acts are applicable to the Nimmalapadu village, as it lies within the notified Scheduled Area of Visakhapatnam district.

According to him, in the Scheduled Areas, as per the provisions of PESA, the question whether any mineral should be extracted and, if so, by whom, should be discussed first by the local adivasi Gram Sabha.

Such a prior discussion had not apparently taken place, he alleged. Even under the FRA, it is necessary that the individual and community rights to the land and the forest resources should be subject to prior discussion by the local adivasi Gram Sabha, which appears to have been bypassed, he added.

As such, the e-tender notice is patently illegal and liable to be set aside, he said.

The Samata Judgement and the judgement in the case of bauxite mining by Vedanta in the scheduled area of Odisha, holds good in this case also, said Mr. Sarma.

It is learnt that a local tribal cooperative has approached the AP High Court to obtain a stay on the e-tender.

A few years ago, the same tribal cooperative had approached the government for lease for mining and was denied.

In new India, leveraging the country’s great mineral potential

Hindustan Times | Pralhad Joshi | April 07, 2021

Given the importance of the sector, the Narendra Modi government has envisioned increasing the sector’s contribution from 1.75% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) currently to 2.5% of GDP

Among the most important sectors with an impact on economic growth is mineral mining. In terms of generating employment, the sector, second only to agriculture, directly and indirectly employs about 11 million people, and sustains the livelihood of about 55 million people.

Despite its huge potential, India’s mineral mining sector remained choked under previous regimes. India had been underexplored — over 17% of the nation’s land area has mineral reserves whereas mining is being carried out only on 0.25% of the area. The sector had also underperformed in attracting investments. While mineral production stands at ₹1.25 lakh crore annually, its import is a whopping ₹2.5 lakh crore.

But given the importance of the sector, the Narendra Modi government has envisioned increasing the sector’s contribution from 1.75% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) currently to 2.5% of GDP. My ministry’s most important task, therefore, has been reforming this sector, with the aim of increasing the mineral production output by 200% over the next seven years. The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2021 is a step towards achieving this.

Despite its huge potential, India’s mineral mining sector remained choked under previous regimes. India had been underexplored — over 17% of the nation’s land area has mineral reserves whereas mining is being carried out only on 0.25% of the area. The sector had also underperformed in attracting investments. While mineral production stands at ₹1.25 lakh crore annually, its import is a whopping ₹2.5 lakh crore.

But given the importance of the sector, the Narendra Modi government has envisioned increasing the sector’s contribution from 1.75% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) currently to 2.5% of GDP. My ministry’s most important task, therefore, has been reforming this sector, with the aim of increasing the mineral production output by 200% over the next seven years. The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2021 is a step towards achieving this.

A large number of mining blocks were not brought into production for many years. Most have been blocked in legacy cases. Such cases can neither be granted lease because the time period to grant them is already over, nor can they be brought to auction because of the legal impasse. We have amended the existing provision for reallocation of such mineral blocks through a transparent auction mechanism. Auctioned mines not made operational within three years will be returned to states concerned for reallocation through auction, as will greenfield mines allocated to public sector units that are not brought into production after a review.

One of the key reforms is transferring all valid rights, approvals, clearances and licenses to the new lessee, valid until the mineral reserves last. This would facilitate lessees to transfer the mine to another entity, thus bringing in fresh investment and entrepreneurship to operate the mine.

Since 2015, geological reports for 143 mineral blocks have been handed over to various states. These blocks are auction-ready, but so far, states have only auctioned seven blocks. To ensure that national reserves are put to best use, a provision has been made wherein the Union government can conduct auctions in consultation where states face challenges or fail to conduct auctions.

Removing the distinction between captive and non-captive mines was long in coming. We knew it was akin to participating in a race with one leg tied. With no such distinction now, there will be a level-playing field for mineral block auctions. Existing captive mines have also been allowed to sell minerals over and above their requirements. A 50% rebate in the revenue share, for the quantity of minerals produced and dispatched earlier than scheduled date of production, has also been provided.

This amendment Act is set to redefine the standard of exploration required for auctioning of partially explored mineral blocks for prospecting licence-cum-mining lease. This will boost seamless transition from exploration to production and encourage the participation of private players. The amended provisions in the Act also ensure better clarity on “Mining without Lawful Authority” to save lease-holders from unjustified penalties under other litigations.

We have also fulfilled a long-standing demand by making local Members of Parliament members of the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) governing council to make DMF more outcome-oriented. Arrangements have also been made to keep a check on misuse of DMF funds so that inclusive development of those affected by mining can be ensured. There are several other changes in the MMDR Act that will boost the ease of doing business in the mineral mining sector, make it more competitive, pave the way for creation of employment opportunities, and have a multiplier effect on several other sectors. Over several meetings, PM Modi laid out a plan where the sector takes allied industries on a growth course to help India become a $5-trillion economy. These amendments are in line with his vision, and the sector will play a major role in defining a New India.

New life to the mining sector

Financial Express | Pralhad Joshi | 06-04-2021

This Amendment Act is set to redefine the standard of exploration required for auctioning partially explored mineral blocks for Prospecting License-cum-Mining Lease. This will boost the seamless transition from exploration to production and encourage participation of private players. The amended provisions in the Act also ensure better clarity on ‘Mining without Lawful Authority’ to save leaseholders from unjustified penalties under other litigations.

We have also fulfilled a long-standing demand by making local Members of Parliament a member of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) Governing Council to make DMF more outcome-oriented. Arrangements have also been made to keep a check on misuse of DMF funds so that inclusive development of those affected by mining can be ensured.
There are several other changes in the MMDR Act that will boost ease of doing business in the mineral mining sector and make it more competitive and productive. The MMDR Amendment Act, 2021 will pave the way for the creation of almost 55 lakh employment opportunities along with having a multiplier effect on several other sectors. Prime Minister Modi has ensured that the mineral mining sector gets to play its actual role of being the foundation of the nation’s economy. Over several meetings, he has laid out an envisioned plan wherein the sector is taking allied industries on a growth course to becoming a $5 trillion economy. I am happy that these amendments are in line with his vision and confident that the sector has a major role to play in defining us as a New India. PIB The author is Union Minister of Coal, Mines & Parliamentary Affairs

MMDR reforms to give new LIFE to the mining sector

The MMDR reforms will give new ‘LIFE’ to the mining sector, where ‘L’ stands for Long-term impact, ‘I’ for Immediate boost to mineral production, ‘F’ for Focus on public welfare, and ‘E’ for Ease of Doing Business

Building a post-Covid-19 world requires grit, perseverance and a vision—precisely everything that makes up Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The world was taken aback with the pandemic and was struggling to deal with it when our Prime Minister announced the grand vision of a self-reliant India, the AatmaNirbhar Bharat. As the Union Minister of Mines and Coal, I often reflect upon my ministry’s contribution to this grand initiative. We were collecting daily reports down to each district and having detailed deliberations with none other than the Prime Minister himself.

Therefore, when during the launch of auction for commercial mining of coal, on June 18, 2020, PM Modi talked about ending decades of lockdown in coal, the sector was only too ready to don the new avatar. In the ensuing months, the government galvanised its machinery to remodel the mineral mining sector.

The mining sector is next only to agriculture in terms of generating employment. The sector directly and indirectly employs about 1.1 crore people and sustains the livelihood of about 5.5 crore people in the country. One direct job in the sector creates 10 indirect jobs. Similarly, 1% growth in mining results in a 1.5% growth in industrial production. Its importance grows manifold when we consider other allied sectors that depend on it for their survival and existence. Sectors such as steel, aluminium, commercial vehicles, rail transportation, ports, shipping, power generation, etc, are closely linked to the mining sector. Therefore, a boost to the mining sector will boost these sectors as well, which, together, will brighten the economic horizon of the nation. With a sector having such far-reaching significance in generation of employment opportunities, the Modi government envisions increasing its contribution from 1.75% of GDP currently to 2.5% of GDP, with an aim to increase the mineral production output by 200% in the next seven years.

The country’s mineral mining sector has remained choked for several decades under previous regimes. Despite huge mineral potential, India had so far been underexplored with mining being carried out only on 0.25% of the land, whereas over 17% of the national land has mineral reserves. The sector had also underperformed in attracting investments. While mineral production stands at Rs 1.25 lakh crore annually, its import is a whopping Rs 2.5 lakh crore.

Unless one is an ostrich with the head buried under the sand, it does not take much to gauge the herculean task the country has achieved in the last 10 months to give a new direction to economic growth. Mineral mining is one such sector that has witnessed an array of reforms, with the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2021, being the latest addition to the fore. These reforms will give new ‘LIFE’ to the mining sector, where ‘L’ stands for Long-term impact, ‘I’ for Immediate boost to mineral production, ‘F’ for Focus on public welfare, and ‘E’ for Ease of Doing Business.

We have seen how a large number of mining blocks with very high quality of resources were not brought into production for many years, resulting in suboptimal utilisation of valuable national mineral resources. Most of them have been blocked in legacy cases. Legacy issues pertaining to mining have become an impediment as such cases can neither be granted lease because the time period to grant them is already over, nor can they be brought to auction because of legal impasse. We have amended the existing provision for reallocation of such mineral blocks through a transparent auction mechanism. Similarly, auctioned mines not made operational within three years will be returned to the concerned states for reallocation through auction and Greenfield mines allocated to PSUs that are not brought into production are also proposed to be reviewed and given back to state governments for auction. Bringing unused mineral blocks into production will generate enormous employment opportunities and bring growth to such mining areas.

One of the key reforms is transferring all valid rights, approvals, clearances and licences to the new lessee, valid until the mineral reserves last. This would facilitate lessees transfer mine to another entity, thus bringing fresh investment and entrepreneurship to operate the mine.

Since 2015, geological reports for 143 mineral blocks have been handed over to various states. These blocks are auction-ready, but so far only seven blocks could be auctioned by states. To ensure that national reserves are put to best use for the development of the nation, provision has been made wherein the central government can conduct auctions in consultation where state governments face challenges or fail to conduct auctions.

Removing the distinction between captive and non-captive mines was long-coming. We knew it was akin to participating in a race with one leg tied down. With no such distinction now, there will be level-playing for mineral block auctions. Moreover, existing captive mines have also been allowed to sell mineral over and above their requirements, and 50% rebate in the revenue share, for the quantity of mineral produced and dispatched earlier than the scheduled date of production, has been provided.

This amendment Act is set to redefine the standard of exploration required for auctioning of partially explored mineral blocks for prospecting licence-cum-mining lease. This will boost seamless transition from exploration to production and encourage participation of private players. The amended provisions in the Act also ensure better clarity on ‘mining without lawful authority’ to save leaseholders from unjustified penalties under other litigations.

We are fulfilling a long-standing demand by making local Members of Parliament a member of the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) Governing Council to make the DMF more outcome-oriented. Arrangements have been made to keep a check on misuse of DMF funds so that inclusive development of those affected by mining can be ensured.

There are several other changes in the MMDR Act that will boost ease of doing business in the mineral mining sector and make it more competitive and productive. The MMDR Amendment Act, 2021, will pave the way for creation of almost 55 lakh employment opportunities along with having a multiplier effect on several other sectors. PM Modi has ensured that the mineral mining sector gets to play its actual role of being the foundation of the nation’s economy. Over several meetings he has laid out an envisioned plan wherein the sector is taking allied industries on a growth course to India becoming a $5-trillion economy. I am happy that these amendments are in line with his vision and I am confident that the sector has a major role to play in defining ourselves as a ‘new India’.

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