Kerala opposes changes to MMDR Act
- August 2, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN Topics
Kerala opposes changes to MMDR Act
Section: Economy Geography
Context: The Kerala government has opposed the new set of proposed amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.
Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act:
- Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act (1957) enacted to regulate the mining sector in India.
- This act is applicable to all minerals except minor minerals and atomic minerals.
- Mining minor minerals comes under the purview of state governments. River sand is considered a minor mineral.
- For mining and prospecting in forest land, prior permission is needed from the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
This act provides for:
- The governance of mining leases within the country.
- The purpose of why the lease is given.
- How to ensure the well being of the people living in the areas where mines are auctioned.
The act was amended by The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2021
- Removal of restriction on end-use of minerals: The act provides that no mine will be reserved for particular end-use (such as iron ore mine for a steel plant). Such mines are known as captive mines.
- Sale of minerals by captive mines: It provides that captive mines (other than atomic minerals) may sell up to 50% of their annual mineral production in the open market after meeting their own needs
- Auction by the central government in certain cases: Under the Act, states conduct the auction of mineral concessions (other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals).
- The Amended act empowers the central government to specify a time period for completion of the auction process in consultation with the state government. If the state government is unable to complete the auction process within this period, the auctions may be conducted by the central government.
- Conditions for lapse of mining lease: The Act provides that a mining lease will lapse if the lessee: (i) is not able to start mining operations within two years of the grant of a lease, or (ii) has discontinued mining operations for a period of two years.
- However, the lease will not lapse at the end of this period if a concession is provided by the state government upon an application by the lessee.
What is the proposed amendment to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957?
- The proposal to remove some names from the list of atomic minerals while empowering the Centre to give sanction for mining certain critical minerals is an encroachment on the powers vested with the States under List 2 of the Seventh Schedule.
- As per the proposal, eight out of 12 group of minerals will be omitted from Part B of the first Schedule of MMDR Act.
- They include beryl and other beryllium-bearing minerals, lithium-bearing minerals, minerals of the ‘rare earths’ group containing uranium and thorium, niobium-bearing minerals, titanium-bearing minerals and ores (ilmenite, rutile and leucoxene), tantallium-bearing minerals, zirconium-bearing minerals and oresincluding zircon and beach sand minerals.
- It has been proposed to create a new part D in the first Schedule (critical & strategic minerals) and the place the eight minerals along with others like indium, gallium, graphite, nickel, cobalt and tin.
- Alleging that the proposal is an attempt to privatize the critical sector and please the mining body.