New Delhi, Feb 15: Ahead of the auction of non-coal minerals, the Mines Ministry has appointed a transaction advisor who will offer suggestions to the government on the procedure and method of auction besides preparing the model bid document, a top official said.
"A transaction advisor has been appointed (recently)...who will advise on the auction procedure and the method of auction," Mines Secretary Anup Pujari told PTI in an interview.
"There is a lot of work we will give him. But essentially the transaction advisor will also prepare a model bid document," Pujari added. Asked about the timing of auction of mines, he said: "I cannot say when but we will try to make it as soon as possible."
Declining to comment on the number of non-coal mines that would be put for sale in the first lot, he said, "The auction will be done by the state.... We make policy and the state government implements it." The Mines Ministry earlier this month extended the leases of government companies which had applied for renewal in time.
An order of the ministry said that in exercise of the power to remove difficulties in the MMDR Amendment Ordinance, "the tenure of the mining leases of all government companies or corporations whose mining leases have been expired and renewal applications have been made in time or which are due to expire...will stand to be extended till March 31, 2020".
While transition provisions for extension of the lease period for 15 years for captive mines, and five years for non- captive mines, have been provided for in the MMDR Amendment Ordinance, 2015, the Ministry said that there is no such provision for leases of government firms.
President Pranab Mukherjee had last month given assent to the Ordinance that paves the way for auctioning of mines containing minerals such as iron ore and bauxite. It amends certain provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957.
The Ordinance provides for granting mines for 50 years through a competitive bidding route, including e-auction.
The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had approved the Ordinance on January 5. It empowers the Centre to prescribe terms and conditions and procedure for bidding which include production sharing or royalty payment or a combination of both.
The Mines Ministry earlier said it would ensure greater transparency and also an increased share for states from the sector.