Financial Express reported that India’s ministry of mines has proposed to adopt a carrot and stick policy, to spur iron ore production. Through the proposed Minerals (other than atomic and hydrocarbons energy minerals) Concession (Amendment) Rules, 2021, the ministry has proposed that the mining lessee will still have to pay statutory dues equal to the minimum dispatch stipulated in a quarter even if dispatch falls short. In case, the lessee fails to maintain the minimum dispatch criteria for three consecutive quarters, the state government may terminate such lease after giving a reasonable opportunity of being heard.
The mines ministry has also planned to incentivise a lessee for higher production. The mines ministry has proposed the Mineral (Auction) Amendment Rules, 2021 “For fully explored blocks, there would be a 50% rebate in the quoted revenue share, for the quantity of mineral produced and dispatched earlier than the scheduled date of production as provided in the tender document.”
Keeping in mind the fact that leases granted for around 334 merchant mines including 46 operating mines will stand cancelled on March 2020, the mines ministry had allowed auction of such leases even before their lease period got over and granted the new owners permission to operate such leases without acquiring the required approvals and clearances for two years. Still, several successful bidders of those working mines failed to start production even after the lapse of 7-8 months of auction and execution of mining leases in their favour. Further, many of the successful bidders who have started production, have not maintained the production and dispatch quantity up to the stipulated level.