National Mineral Policy 2019
The Union Cabinet has recently approved the National Mineral Policy 2019.
How did the policy come about?
- National Mineral Policy 2019 replaces the extant National Mineral Policy 2008 (“NMP 2008”).
- The Supreme Court in 2017 made a direction to the government to review NMP 2008.
- So the Ministry of Mines constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Dr. K Rajeswara Rao, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Mines to review NMP 2008.
- The Committee Report was submitted to the Ministry of Mines, based on which the National Mineral Policy 2019 was finalized.
What is the objective?
- The New National Mineral Policy will ensure more effective regulation and will lead to sustainable mining sector development.
- It aims to bring in further transparency, better enforcement, balanced social and economic growth.
- This could significantly address the issues of project affected persons especially those residing in tribal areas.
- Besides, the Policy aims to
- ease merger and acquisition of mining entities
- attract private sector participation in exploration
- allow transfer of mining leases
- create dedicated mineral corridors
What are the key provisions?
- Industry status – The NMP 2019 proposes to grant industry status to mining activity.
- This is to boost financing of mining for private sector and for acquisitions of mineral assets in other countries by private sector.
- Right to first refusal – Earlier, if a firm that has a reconnaissance permit (RP) finds evidence of minerals, it has to inform the government.
- The government will then auction off the area.
- But under the new policy, such firms will get the right of first refusal i.e. the same firm would be given the area for mining.
- Private sector – NMP 2019 talks of rationalising reserved areas earmarked for PSUs which have not been used; these areas will now be put to auction.
- This will give more opportunity to the private sector for participation in mining activities.
- The policy also underlines the need to harmonise India’s tax, levy and royalty rates to global benchmarks to draw higher private participation.
- Transportation – NMP 2019 focuses on use of coastal waterways and inland shipping for evacuation and transportation of minerals.
- It also encourages dedicated mineral corridors to facilitate the transportation of minerals.
- Fund – The policy calls for the utilization of the district mineral fund for equitable development of project affected persons and areas.
- Export Import – NMP 2019 proposes a long term export import policy for the mineral sector as an incentive for investing in large scale commercial mining activity.
- Inter-Generational Equity – NMP introduces the concept of Inter-Generational Equity that deals with the well-being of both the present generation and future generations.
- It also proposes to constitute an inter-ministerial body to institutionalize the mechanism for ensuring sustainable development in mining.
- Regulation – For regulation of the Minerals sector, E-Governance, IT enabled systems, awareness and information campaigns will be incorporated.
- Online public portal with provision for generating triggers at higher level in the event of delay of clearances by the state has been put in place.