Metals & Mining News

Second critical mineral bid round to be called on Thursday


The centre will launch the second round of critical mineral mine auctions on Thursday. An official statement said, letters of financial grants will also be handed over to start-ups in mining and mineral sector. Besides these, Annual Capacity Building Plan for Geological Survey of India (GSI) will be released during the event.

First round of critical mineral bids was called in November 2023. This was made possible after an amendment to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act earlier this fiscal. The centre also notified 24 minerals as being Critical and Strategic for the country, demand for which are usually met by imports. Critical minerals cater to the needs of sectors like renewable energy, defence, agriculture, pharmaceutical, high-tech electronics, telecommunications, transport, and creation of gigafactories among others.

The amendment allowed the centre to grant mineral concession and prioritise auction of these resources. The revenue generated from these auctions shall accrue to the State Governments. Subsequently, royalty rates of critical minerals were rationalized to encourage more participation in auctions.

Timelines for the first auction have recently been relaxed to allow better participation. ET had reported in December this year that a second round of bids will be called in February 2024. The earlier aim was to bid out 100 blocks in this second tranche.

The 24 listed strategic and critical minerals for the country include graphite, molybdenum, lithium and platinum group elements. Efforts are now underway to speedily auction mining leases for these minerals. Mines are spread across Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu among others.


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