Ministry suggests minimum lease size for minor minerals

New Delhi: In a move that could help the State Governments evolve a uniform regulatory framework for the mining of minor minerals, the Environment Ministry has suggested that the minimum size of the mining lease should be five hectares and that the lease period be fixed at five years.

Currently, the area for grant of mine leases and the period of lease for minor minerals vary from State to State depending on the type of concessions, minerals and its end use.

Mining is a State subject and there is no uniformity in regulatory framework for minor minerals.

This is mainly because the State Governments are empowered to make rules for minor minerals under Section 15 of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 1957.

The Environment Ministry had set up a group under the Environment Secretary to evolve guidelines for sustainable mining of minor minerals.

The group in its report has also suggested a cluster approach for the smaller mine leases operating currently. These clusters could be provided with processing or crusher zones for forward integration, it said.

Corpus

The group was in favour of making mine plans mandatory for the minor minerals as well and recommended that a separate corpus should be created for reclamation and rehabilitation of mined out areas.

As mining of minor minerals is by and large unorganised and practised in an unscientific manner, the separate corpus could be utilised for reclamation of mined out areas. The State Governments could work out a suitable mechanism for creation of such corpus on the polluter pays principle, it said.

Minerals have been classified into major and minor categories based on their end use rather than level of production, level of mechanisation, export and import among other factors.

Minerals such as ordinary sand, marble, boulders, lime shell, brick earth, quartzite and sandstone among others are declared as minor minerals by the Central Government. The minor minerals account for about a tenth of the total value of minerals produced in the country.

Further, the present classification of minerals into major and minor minerals should be re-examined by the Ministry of Mines in consultation with the States, it said.

Source : The Hindu Business Line. 09/06/10 

 

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