New Delhi, Jan 19 (PTI) States have welcomed the recent amendment to the Mineral Auction Rules by the Centre to expedite e-auction of mineral blocks, the government said today.

“The recent amendment to the Mineral Auction Rules by the Union Mines Ministry to make the auction process less cumbersome were welcomed by the states to enable them to expedite the mineral auction process,” It said.

As a result, post amendment of rules in 2017, almost 30 blocks will be put up on auction in January 2018, which is the highest in a month since the auction route was adopted for allotment of the mineral blocks.

A meeting was held today in Goa, headed by Mines Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, which was attended by by Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and representatives of other states.

The statement said Parrikar sought that support of the Central government to resolve issues that crop up from time to time in the mining sector.

“He requested for reduction of export duties on Iron ore up to 60 per cent so that the Iron ore industry of Goa is helped,” the statement said.

A total of 88 major mineral blocks have been notified by 9 states for auction and 33 blocks have been successfully auctioned, and the total estimated revenue to the state government over the lease period stands at Rs 1,28,388 crore, it said.

“The additionality to states due to bringing in the auction process shall be in excess of Rs 99,000 crore, which will accrue as an additional revenue to the states only due to introduction of auctions for grant of mineral concessions.

“Thus, the auctions introduced by MMDR Amendment in 2015 have brought huge additional revenues along with greater transparency in allocation of mineral resources of the country,” the statement said.

It added that more than Rs 13,700 crore have accrued in the fund of District Mineral Foundation in the mining districts of major mineral rich states across the country.

These funds are being utilised for projects under the Pradhan Mantri Khanij Kshetra Kalyan Yojana for the social welfare, protection of environment and infrastructure development of mining affected areas and thus help in creating a congenial mining environment in the local communities.

The statement said the need for initiating the auction process well in advance for the leases of merchant miners expiring in 2020 was stressed to ensure a seamless transition from the existing to the new lessees.

Also, Mining Surveillance System (MSS) harnessing the space technology was applauded by the states on its impact in curbing the incidence of illegal mining.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.