Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 14:
With all set to start process for auction of mines by the end of this month, Odisha will be the first state in the country to do so. The state government has decided to up ten mines for auction in the first phase. Earlier, the government had decided to auction 12 mines.
However, in the last moment Khandadhar and Mankad Mocha mines were dropped from the list of mines to be auctioned in the first phase.
These two mines were dropped from the list since differential global-positioning system (DGPS) survey and other allied works of these mines remain to be completed. Auctioning of mines would start by December. Three iron ore mines, five manganese ore mines, one lime stone mine and one bauxite mine would be put up for auction. The auctioning of mines will take place through the e-auction route.
“Ten mines will be put up for auction in the first phase. Notification for purpose will be published by the end of November. Transaction advisor SBI Capital Markets Limited (SBI Cap) will advise the state government on the financial aspect of the auctions. It will fix the minimum floor price of the mines. Auctions will be completed by December end. Auctions will be done through the web portal of MSTC Ltd,” said Steel & Mines Minister Prafulla Mallick.
A committee has been formed with Development Commissioner U N Behera as its head for smooth execution of the auction process. The committee apart from preparing tender documents is overseeing and monitoring other preparations. The committee is advising the government on identification of mines, determination of auction price and deadline and expediting the process for auctions.
The state government had even earlier, informed that Khandadhar and Mankad Mocha iron ore mines will be kept reserved for Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC). It may be mentioned here that while Khandadhar mines is located in Sundargarh district, Mankad Mocha mines is located in Keonjhar district.
However, mines experts have expressed doubts over the success of the state government’s plans for auction of mines. They feel it won’t be an easy task for companies to fetch environment clearance and other clearances as required under the new MMDR Act. Under such circumstances companies who would have obtained mines participating through auctions will sustain heavy losses if don’t get the required clearances.