The Centre has taken back mineral from states, due to non-production, Pralhad Joshi, Union minister for coal and mines, said, adding that the 17 blocks will be put up for auction.

“Big PSUs were sitting with big for the past 10, 15, 20 years without any production. While NMDC has done well, there were many PSUs sitting idle with mines, which was a national resource. So, we have decided that if a mine does not start production in five to six years, we will take them back and auction them,” said Joshi.

He said states were approached to surrender these non-producing but they had concerns over confiscation of bank guarantee. “So, we said that it (bank guarantee) won’t be taken, just give us back the mines,” Joshi said.

Also Read: 190 major mineral blocks auctioned in seven years, says Pralhad Joshi

In March, passed the Mines and (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021, which proposed to remove curbs of end-use for future auctions of mineral mining rights, allowing operators of existing captive mines to sell up to 50 per cent of extracted in a year.

Joshi said similar relaxation of removing end use restrictions for captive coal mines has improved their production and is slated to touch 140 million tonnes by the end of this fiscal year. He said this had also increased the revenue in the sector.

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