The recent amendment in the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act(MMDRA) is likely to clear the way for state iron ore miner NMDC to resume operationsat the shuttered Donimalai mine.
The earlier rules said that upon receipt of a request for renewal of mining lease, thestate government may extend the period of lease for up to 20 years. The newamendment, done on September 27, substitutes the word may with ‘shall’ therebymaking it compulsory for the state to renew any leases.
The lease for NMDC’s 7 million tonne Donimalai mine expired in November last yearand the Karnataka government extended it for 20 years on the condition of payment of80% premium on sales. This clause was challenged by NMDC in the high court whichquashed it.
“As the case of cancellation of the Donimalai mining lease by the Karnataka stategovernment is being heard in the mining tribunal, the change in law appears to befavouring the PSU miner,” ICICI Securities said in an analyst report.
Most hybrid annuity model-(HAM) based road projects awarded by the NationalHighways Authority of India (NHAI) have managed to steer away from financial closureissues but land acquisition-related problems continue to hinder the commencement ofproject construction, according to India Ratings and research (Ind-Ra).
The Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI) stated that the delays in auctions ofmining leases that are due to expire in March are threatening to disrupt India’s iron oreproduction and are raising the prospect of higher imports.
“We see a bleak scenario as of now for the next year for the mining industry andemployment in the sector. If we cannot produce, then we will import,” RK Sharma,Secretary General of FIMI.
Sources said that the Government is taking steps to avert supply disruptions. Themines department is in talks with the federal environment ministry to allow winningbidders of mines whose leases expire by March 2020 to start operations without delayif the mine has valid environmental and forest approvals.
The steel industry has expressed serious concern with Government inching close tosigning Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which will open duty-freeimports into the country from China.The RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement between the ten member states of theAssociation of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, China, Japan, India, SouthKorea, Australia and New Zealand.
The negotiations for signing RCEP was formallylaunched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia and is now in theadvanced stage of finalisation.Compared to other countries steel production cost in India is higher by about $40 atonne due to creaky infrastructure, high taxes and expensive cost of capital.
has urged the government to provide an export incentive of $40 to put both thedomestic and global companies on the same footing before opening up the steelmarkets for global competitors.
Export of steel from India in August has grown 37% compared to last year with steelcompanies trying to beat the domestic slowdown by exporting more to other countries.However, in the first five months of this fiscal exports has dropped 7.5%.
Trade ministers of the 16-nation RCEP grouping will meet in Bangkok on October 10-12. Commerce and industry Minister Piyush Goyal will attend the meeting. Technicalnegotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal wereover when chief negotiators of various countries met in Vietnam last week after 28rounds of talks.