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New mining reforms to be announced shortly: Coal Secretary

New mining reforms to be announced shortly: Coal Secretary

Secretary, Ministry of Coal, Anil Kumar Jain has indicated that as per the discussion report and recommendations made by a high-level committee, the ministry was likely to announce new mining reforms in the next few weeks.

Addressing the ‘CEOs Roundtable on Propelling the Mining Industry Forward through Sustainable Technologies for Atmanirbhar Bharat’, organised by the industry chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) on Thursday, Jain said the proposed reforms will try to provide the industry with a more liberal dispensation.

“While we are looking at mining reforms, amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulations (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,” declared Jain.

“Between the public sector units (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 added.

He further said that a framework to reward as well as penalise coal producers is being worked out.

“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 incentivising early production. There will be a regime of ‘reward and punish’ in the mining sector,” he added.

Further, Jain said that there had been a sea change in the ways industries were working over the years, with sustainability becoming a buzzword in the sector.

“It is high time all of us realise 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 realises this as well,” he opined.

The extended producer responsibility (EPR) and the source efficiency were well enshrined presently, he remarked.

Jain also said that though increasing sustainability was very well known to miners it needed to be embedded in the heart of operations. The use of cleaner fuels, renewable energy, adoption of energy efficiency were all becoming pertinent despite inadequate efforts by some.

Talking about high levies on the sector, Jain alluded that the money garnered from the sector in terms of the District Mineral Foundations (DMFs) and, in some cases, coal and GST compensation and high royalties, should also be locally deployed, as the local community was becoming a stakeholder in the mining industry.

Addressing the roundtable, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Coal, M Nagaraju congratulated the industry for the success of the recently concluded coal mine auctions.

“We are now in the process of issuing the mine allocation orders and we hope to do that in the next ten days 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 said.

Nagaraju further added that there were several learnings from the coal mine auctions, and in the next round of auctions would, the ministry would like to further smoothen the process with support and inputs from the industry.

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