Mines and Minerals Bill to usher in key changes

By Saurabh Bhasin and Arnav Joshi, Trilegal

The government of India recently approved the draft Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Bill, 2011. Once passed, it will repeal and replace the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. Some of the key aspects of the bill are discussed below.

Competitive bidding: Keeping with the trend in some other sectors, the bill introduces a government-administered competitive bidding and auction process. Only government-approved companies will be allowed to mine coal on government land, as is the case today. Prospecting licences and high technology licences may be granted through competitive bids invited by a state government or on application for a notified area. Mining leases may also be granted through competitive bidding, or to anyone who has held a prospecting licence or high technology licence for the area in question.

Saurabh Bhasin Partner Trilegal
Saurabh Bhasin

New licences, timelines and mining areas: The bill introduces new licences for “general exploration” (for initial delineation of an identified deposit), “non-exclusive reconnaissance” (for conducting systematic study), and “high technology reconnaissance cum exploration” (for reconnaissance and prospecting including general and detailed exploration). The duration and area of leases and licences for mineral concessions has been increased.

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Saurabh Bhasin is a partner at the Delhi office of Trilegal where Arnav Joshi is an associate. Trilegal is a full-service law firm with offices in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad and has over 140 lawyers, some of whom have experience with law firms in the US, the UK and Japan.


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