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07th April, 2021 15:16 IST

Bhubaneswar: After auctioning 24 mining blocks last year, Odisha government is ready with another 15 mining blocks this year. However, the state government will wait till the proposed amendment in the Mineral Concession Rules (MCR), 2016.

“We are ready with as many as 15 mining blocks including 7-8 iron ore and iron Ore-Manganese blocks, Lime stone, Graphite blocks for auction. However, we’ll wait for the proposed amendment in the MCR Rules-2016.  We can come out with NITs (Notice Inviting Tenders) for the blocks within 15 days of notification of the amendment” said Devidutt Biswal, Director of Mines, Odisha.

In vew of the iron ore shortage in the country, the Ministry of Mines has proposed a key amendment in Rule 12A of the MCR Rules 2016 (Minerals (Other than Atomic and Hydro Carbons Energy Minerals) Concession Rules, 2016). The amendment is aimed to strengthen the norms of minimum production/dispatch.

The Rule 12A is proposed to be amended to mandate the successful bidder of block to make payment equivalent to the revenue share and other statutory levies that would have been payable at the prescribed level of minimum production/ dispatch targets on a quarterly basis. The amendment also proposed to provide in the Rules that failure to maintain prescribed production level for three consecutive quarters may lead to termination of the leases,” the ministry said.

Last year, the Odisha government had auctioned 24 mining blocks out of which lease deeds were executed for 19 mines. Out of the 19 mines, 18 mines have started mining operation and dispatch. Meanwhile, of the 5 blocks, for which lease deeds could not be executed, 2 have been allocated to OMC and rest 3 are sub-judice.

Record Mining Revenue despite pandemic

Despite lesser production due to the pandemic, the Odisha government has earned record mining revenue of Rs. 13,700 crore (provisional figures) in the 2020-21 financial year against Rs.11020 crore in the previous year (2019-20). The rise in mining revenue is mainly due to the premium collected on the minerals.

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