Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (Fimi) has urged the government to streamline mining regulatory processes for the facilitation of timely approvals. The industry body states such a move will ease mining operations and help realize the government’s motto of self-reliant India. 

Addressing a webinar on “Conducive Environment and Forest Regime for Growth of Mining Sector “, Fimi president Sunil Duggal stated mining clearances take an average of three to five years at present. Multiple levels of clearances under various acts including the Forest Rights Act, 2006, adds to the delay. A suitable mechanism, striking a balance between environment protection and quick approvals could aid the industry, believes Duggal. Mainly since these delays in permits and clearances have been putting an extra burden on the mining industry.

India’s Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change (MOEFCC) has already commenced a single-window clearance system through its Parivesh portal. The mining body hopes this unified system could smoothen the mining operation. 

The Ministry of Mines in consultation with MOEFCC has also introduced pre-embedded clearances for the auction for mineral blocks on a pilot scale, he shared. With this system, state governments can apply for clearances as project proponent prior to the auction of a block and will transfer the clearances to the allottee. 

Fimi demands an extension of the timeline

FIMI has objected to the government’s plans to repeal section 10A(2)(b) and (c) of the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act. The amendment could make auctioning of the leases currently blocked under legacy cases. The association, however, believes doing so will be counter-productive for the mineral development of the country. Fimi demanded that Section 10A(2)(c) may be amended by extending the timeline for another five years till January 2022 for the grant of mining leases to such deserving concession holders.

The ministry of mines had earlier sought objections and suggestions on MMDR act reforms, including repealing of these sections. 

Fimi said that the proposal for scrapping Section 10A (2)(c) provided only two years to applicants possessing a Letter of Intent (LoI) to obtain statutory clearances and execute mining lease. In several cases, the mining license could not be granted within two years.

It added that the government had introduced Section 10A(2)(b) in 2015 to guarantee these concessionaries the right to mine. It further added that existing RP/PL holders have invested huge resources and put long years to undertake risky exploration activities and have helped India to discover valuable mineral deposits.

Since the grant of statutory clearance takes up to 35 years and as many as 196 applications under Section 10A(2)(c) have expired. Fimi added that it is gathered that many such cases are sub-judice under various courts, including Supreme Court.

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