The government will auction five mineral blocks in Gujarat and Karnataka having reserves of 667.2 million tonnes starting Monday.
The development assumes significance in the wake of the Centre asking each state having mineral resources to identify at least five new mining projects for auction with pre-embedded clearance on a pilot basis, with a view to expediting the sale process as well as the operationalisation of the blocks.
While the auction of one mineral block in Karnataka will begin on Monday, the sale of the other four mines will commence on Thursday and last till July 8, according to government documents.
The notice inviting tender for Kannur (Wadi Area) limestone block in Karnataka was floated in November, while that for four limestone mines in Gujarat was out on March 19.
The mines ministry had recently released guidelines for the auction of mineral blocks with pre-embedded clearances as it explored ways to address the key issue of delay in mining production due to lack of various approvals such as forest and environment permissions.
The identified blocks would be auctioned along with other blocks without pre-embedded clearances.
Under the guidelines, the Centre has asked states to set up a project monitoring unit (PMU) to complete the preparatory work for obtaining requisite clearances, approvals and related work. The unit would obtain all the clearances for starting a mining project.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had earlier announced various structural reforms in the mining sector as part of the over Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package to boost growth and job creation.
She had announced auction of 500 blocks and the introduction of a seamless composite exploration-cum-mining-cum-production regime.
So far, 97 mining leases have been allocated through auctions since 2015.