New Delhi: Miners’ body Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) has urged the government to seek suggestions of the companies being hit due to proposed tweaking or removing a particular Section of the mining Act that guarantees seamless transition for existing mineral concession holders to the mining stage. In a letter dated July 9 to Mines Secretary Sushil Kumar, FIMI Secretary General R K Sharma said, “We suggest that you may also like to consider holding stakeholders’ meeting where the people affected by the repealing of Section 10A(2)(b) can make their suggestions.”
Sharma told that proposed tweaking or removing of the Section will affect 552 mineral blocks and added that if these blocks were allowed to operated under the existing Section, it will give employment to about six lakh persons — directly and indirectly — at a time when there is large-scale unemployment.
In the letter, FIMI also said, “We draw your (government’s) attention to our letter…wherein we have requested for protecting the rights of existing concessionaires by not removing or tweaking Section10A(2)(b) of the MMDR Act, 1957.”
A concessionaire is the holder of a concession, especially for the use of land or commercial premises or for trading rights.
The industry body in its another letter earlier had said the existing reconnaissance permit (RP) and prospecting licence (PL) holders have invested huge resources and long years to undertake risky exploration activities.
There are three kinds of mineral concessions — RP, PL and mining lease.
RP is granted for preliminary prospecting of a mineral through regional, aerial, geophysical or geochemical surveys and geological mapping.
Prospecting licence is granted for undertaking operations for the purpose of exploring, locating or proving mineral deposit. A prospecting licence holder has preferential right to obtain mining lease in the area concerned.
A mining lease is granted for undertaking operations for winning any mineral.
Acknowledging the valuable contribution of the RP/PL holders to the country, the government had introduced this Section in 2015 to guarantee these concessionaries the right to mine the deposit if they satisfy certain conditions, thereby creating vested rights with such concession holders.
The industry body had also said if the cases saved under the said Section are cancelled and put up for auction, it will mean that the Centre has faltered on its Act and will lead to irreparable loss of investor confidence in the country’s mineral sector apart from multiple litigations in courts.
It will also send a wrong signal to both domestic and international investors about certainty in India’s mineral policy, it had said.