Mining for philanthropy?
Source: N/A, Date: October , 2010
‘There is enough for everyone’s need but not enough for everyone’s greed’. The Government seems to have reiterated the Gandhian philosophy by bringing in a provision through a draft mining legislation that will restrict unregulated use of minerals. The provision is a plan to restrict concessions to companies that mine scarce resources.
This has been a result of the amendment to the Draft Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2009, which happens to be a crosschecking manual. The Bill is likely to get a nod next week by the decision makers after due discussion and approval.
The bill, which aims to balance aspirations of both investors and project-affected persons, has already gone through marathon discussions in the last couple of years to evolve a consensus amidst divergent views from the Centre, states and the industry. Handique, Mines Minister has spearheaded a proposal in the bill that makes it mandatory for miners to share 26% of their profits with local people affected by such projects. The mining industry has strongly opposed the proposal.
Among other things, the draft legislation provides for a seamless transition among different mining licenses to ensure that investments made by companies are properly rewarded by way of grant of mineral lease. The draft legislation also provides for sharing of mining profits with project-affected people.
In case of a mine becoming non-functional or slipping into losses, the firm concerned should compensate affected people by paying an amount equal to the royalty given to the state government. The bill is said to replace the existing Mines and Mineral Development and Regulation Act (MMDR Act), 1957.
In lieu of better clarity on the legislation, the Coal Ministry also held discussions on the draft Mines and Minerals Bill, as the impact would be highest on Coal India, the country’s largest mining company. The key emphasis of the discussion has been on proposals with the government for clarity on the existing rehabilitation policy with proposed new proposals on profit sharing. The demand has been on managing rehabilitation activities to keep with job offers in the new proposal. The new legislation has also been viewed in light of the concerns over land acquisition norms.
According to the government, India’s total iron ore resources, the fourth largest in the world, are estimated at 23 billion tones. Of this, not a lot is available for mining and many connected with the mining industry say depletion of resources is increasing rapidly.