Govt to auction three mineral blocks in February, March

The government plans to auction three mineral blocks having reserves of 280.295 million tonnes in the present and next month.

Of the mines to be auctioned, two are limestone blocks while one is graphite mine, as per latest data of mines ministry.

The limestone blocks in Chhattisgarh will go under the auction on February 8 and February 11, while the graphite block in Jharkhand will be auctioned on March 2.

The notice inviting tender (NIT) of both the limestone blocks was out on October 6 last year, while in the case of graphite block the tender was out on December 25.

All the three blocks have no end-use reservation, the ministry confirmed.

The Centre had earlier said it was considering granting all approvals, comprising environmental clearance, to mineral blocks before putting them up for sale, a move that may give a push to the auctions.

The idea is to fast-track auctioning and that matters related to green clearances and land rights are addressed upfront.

It has given in-principle approval to provide single clearance for environment and forest to the new leaseholders of the 288 mining leases expiring in two years.

Last month, the government said 53 mineral blocks have been successfully allocated through auction.

To ensure transparency in the mineral sector, Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill was passed by Parliament in 2015.

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