The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Ordinance, 2015

On 12-01-2015, the President of India promulgated the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Ordinance, 2015. The objective of the Ordinance is to further amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 in order to address the emergent problems in the mining industry. The salient features of the Ordinance are as follows:

  • Introduction of “auction” in the grant of mineral concessions by the State Government in order to bring greater transparency and removal of discretion.
  • Increase the tenure of the mineral concession from the existing 30  to 50 years (thereafter, the Mining Lease would be put up for auction and not for renewal).
  • Mining Leases would be deemed to be extended from the date of their last renewal to 31st March, 2030 (in the captive miners) and till 31st March, 2020 (for the merchant miners) or till the completion of the renewal already granted, if any, whichever is later,  in order to permit the closed mines to start their operations.
  • Establishment of District Mineral Foundation (DMF) in the districts where mining takes place, to address the long time grievance of the civil society with people affected by mining.
  • Set up of a National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) created out of contribution from the mining lease holders to have a dedicated fund for undertaking exploration and flow of greater investment to the sector.
  • Removal of the prior approval of the Central Government before the grant of mineral concession by the State Government to make the process quicker and simpler (Except in case of atomic minerals, coal and lignite).
  • Approval of mining plan by the Government would no longer be mandatory.
  • The Central Government has been given powers to intervene where State Governments do not pass orders within prescribed timeline in order to eliminate delay.
  • Higher penalties and jail terms have been provided to bring a check on illegal mining.
  • Constitution of special courts by the State Government for fast-track trial of cases related to illegal mining.
  • Easy transferability of concessions obtained through auctions so as to attract private investment and FDI.

 

-Ministry of Law and Justice.

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