India mulls stringent legal provisions to bar non-serious players from mineral block auctions

Thursday, 17 December 2020 17:11:10 (GMT+3)   |   Kolkata

The Indian government is considering the inclusion of stringent provisions in the Mines, Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 2015 to enable termination of contracts of non-serious successful bidders at auctions of mineral blocks including iron ore and barring them from participation in future auctions, India’s minister of mines, Prahlad Joshi, has said in a statement.

The minister said that some of the successful bidders are trying to undermine the auction process by delaying production at mineral blocks secured by them. “Such cases will be dealt seriously and, in coordination with the state government, we are contemplating to bring in stringent provisions in the Act so that non-serious players are terminated and barred from future auctions,” Mr. Joshi said.

It might be noted that, of the 24 iron ore blocks where mining leases expired on March 31, 2020, and fresh auctions were held and new mining leases awarded, only five have been brought back into production.

In fact significantly, all the five iron ore blocks which have resumed production and dispatches had been secured by JSPL and ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel Limited (AMNS) at the recently concluded auctions.

Also significantly, both the ministry of mines and the steel ministry have attributed the current shortage of iron ore faced by the steel industry to the failure of successful bidders for the new iron ore mining leases to bring their assets into production.

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