Rajya Sabha on 2 May 2016 passed Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2015. The bill amends the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 in order to regulate the mining sector in the country.
It also replaces the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Ordinance, 2015 promulgated on 12 January 2015.
With this, both the houses of parliament passed the bill. Lok Sabha passed the bill on 3 March 2016 after it was introduced in Lok Sabha on 24 February 2015.
Now, the bill will be sent to the President for his assent.
Provisions of the Bill
• It adds 4th Schedule to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 in order to include bauxite, iron ore, limestone and manganese ore as notified minerals. The Union government may, by notification, amend this Schedule.
• It creates a new category of mining license i.e. the prospecting license-cum-mining lease, which is a two stage-concession for the purpose of undertaking prospecting operations (exploring or proving mineral deposits) followed by mining operations.
• It allows the union government to increase the area limits for mining, instead of providing additional leases.
• It changes the lease period for all minerals other than coal, lignite and atomic minerals. Mining leases for minerals shall be granted for a period of 50 years. On expiry of the lease, the leases shall be put up for auction, instead of being renewed.
• It specifies that any lease granted before the commencement of the Bill, shall be extended (i) up to 31 March 2030 for minerals used for captive purpose and up to 31 March 2020 for minerals used for other than captive purpose or (ii) till the completion of renewal period or (iii) for a period of 50 years from the date of grant of such lease, whichever is later.
• It states that state governments shall grant mining leases and prospecting license-cum-mining leases for both notified and other minerals. All leases shall be granted through auction by competitive bidding, including e-auction.
• It states that union government shall prescribe the terms and conditions and procedure for auction for the selection of bidders. For mining leases, the government may reserve particular mines for a specific end use and allow only eligible end users to participate in the auction.
• It states that the holder of a mining lease or prospecting license-cum-mining lease may transfer the lease to any eligible person, with the approval of the state government and as specified by the Union government. Only mineral concessions granted through auction will be allowed for transfer.
• It provides for the creation of a District Mineral Foundation (DMF) and a National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET). The DMF is to be established by the state government and NMET shall be established by the union government for regional and detailed mine exploration.
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Where: Rajya Sabha
When: 2 May 2016