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MMDR Act, Auction rules to be soon adopted in the statutory book; PSUs and Pvt sector to have a level playing field: Anil Kumar Jain, Coal Secretary

Nov 12, 2020

NEW DELHI, 12 November 2020: Mr Anil Kumar Jain, Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Govt of India today said that as per the discussion report and the HLC recommendations, the ministry will try to give industry a more liberal dispensation than what is known in the public realm. 


Addressing the 'CEOs Roundtable on Propelling the Mining Industry Forward through Sustainable Technologies for Atmanirbhar Bharat', organized by FICCI and supported by thyssenkrupp, Mr Jain said, "While we are looking at mining reforms, amendments to the MMDR Act, the auction rules, etc., it needs to be mentioned that they are well progressing and in the next six to eight weeks these reforms may get adopted in the statutory book."


Between the PSUs and the private sector, we will be trying to introduce a level playing field. We are going to open the sector and reduce the requirement of exploration status, he said. The licensing regime of the coal sector where there are milestones that you need to adhere to when in a mine, they have been lacking so far, we have been introducing them. There will be a system of incentivizing early production. There will be a regime of 'reward and punish' in the mining sector, Mr Jain said.


Further, Mr Jain said that there has been a sea change in the ways industries are working over the years and sustainability is quite the buzzword in the sector currently. "It is high time all of us realize that the environment cannot be ascribed zero value. The public is aware and is demanding more action from the legislature and judiciary for a healthy environment and the industry realizes this as well," he said. The EPR (extended producer responsibility) and the source efficiency is well enshrined at present, he added. 


Mr Jain also said that increasing sustainability is very well known to the mining community but it needs to be embedded in the heart of the mining operations. Use of cleaner fuels, RE, adoption of energy efficiency is becoming pertinent, in spite of inadequate efforts by some. 


Talking about high levies on the sector, Mr Jain alluded that the money that is garnered from the sector in terms of the DMF and in some cases, coal and GST compensation and high royalties, should also be locally deployed, as the local community today is becoming a stakeholder in the mining industry.


Addressing the roundtable, Mr M Nagaraju, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Coal congratulated the industry for the smooth auction process. "We are now in the process of issuing the mine allocation orders and we hope to do that in the next 10 days," he said. We would perhaps like to have a consultation with the industry with what needs to be done and then proceed for the next round of auctions and would like the industry to complement the government in its efforts, he added. 


Mr Nagaraju further added that there are several learning from the current round of Coal mine auctions, and in the next round of auctions would, Ministry would like to further smoothen the process with the support and inputs from industry.


Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, FICCI said that the auctions for commercial coal mines have been successful and now we have to go in execution phase, one of the aspects of the execution phase is to get sustainable technologies going forward.


Commenting on the technology innovations in the mining sector, Mr Vivek Bhatia, MD & CEO, thyssenkrupp Industries India said, "A broad range of technologies are available today which can ensure competitive mining while ensuring minimal environmental impact even permitting the elimination of blasting in several cases. These continuous mining solutions can work round the clock along with conveyor systems without any intermediate handling, improving operational safety, and reducing OPEX significantly. Additionally, the life cycle cost of such systems is significantly lower than the present systems along with improved carbon footprints."


The roundtable witnessed participation from some of the leading industry stakeholders from various sectors such as power, aluminium, steel, cement, and mining.

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