Mines Ministry organises roadshow on auction of 20 critical and strategic mineral blocks under 1st tranche

Mines Ministry organises roadshow on auction of 20 critical and strategic mineral blocks under 1st tranche

Bhubaneswar: In preparation for the success of the inaugural auction of Critical and Strategic Minerals, launched by Shri Pralhad Joshi, Hon’ble Union Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Coal and Mines, on November 29, 2023, a roadshow was organized by the Ministry of Mines, Govt of India, for the regional engagement with the prospective bidders at Bhubaneswar yesterday. 

 

Dr Veena Kumari Dermal, Designated officer and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Mines, Shri Sridhar Patra, CMD NALCO, along with senior officers from the Ministry of Mines and State Government were notably present on the occasion and interacted with the bidders, industry consultants, and exploration agencies. The roadshow aimed to guide potential bidders through the auction process.

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Worth mentioning that in this first tranche, a total of 20 critical and strategic mineral blocks are being auctioned, with 16 for the grant of Composite License and 4 for the grant of Mining Lease. The minerals include Graphite, Glauconite, Lithium, REE, Molybdenum, Nickel, Potash, PGE, and Phosphorite. The blocks are spread across Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Odisha, Tamilnadu, Uttar Pradesh and UT of Jammu and Kashmir. Out of these 20 mineral blocks, 4 blocks are situated in Odisha.

Shri Sridhar Patra, CMD, NALCO, initiated the discussion by emphasizing the pivotal role of Critical and Strategic Minerals in modern tech, economic growth, and national security, shedding light on their diverse industrial applications. This was followed by respective presentations by SBI Capital Markets Limited, Transaction Adviser, MECL (Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited), Technical Consultant and MSTC (Metal Scrap Trade Corporation) e-auction platform provider. 

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The presentation covered the auction process details, technical aspects of bid submission and registration process and technical details of the 20 blocks. 

 

Reemphasizing on the need for exploration of critical and strategic minerals, Dr Veena Kumari Dermal, Designated Officer and Joint Secretary, Ministry of Mines, said that these minerals have wide applications across various sectors including renewable energy, defense, high-tech industrial applications etc and also play a pivotal role in economic growth and national security. Dr Veena Kumari also shared insights on the role played by Ministry of Mines in drafting recent amendments and on future steps being planned for the facilitation of auction of critical and strategic minerals. 

 

She also highlighted that Ministry of Mines has achieved a significant milestone with the signing of an agreement between KABIL and the state-owned enterprise in Argentina for exploration followed by exploitation of five lithium blocks in Catamarca Province of Argentina. This was the first ever agreement for lithium exploration and mining project by a Government Company of India. Further, she elaborated on the action taken by Government of India in International as well as domestic fronts for ensuring supply chain of critical and strategic minerals for downstream industries. She called upon the bidders to participate in the auction process. It may be mentioned that the last date for the sale of Tender Documents is February 13, 2024, and the last date for bid submission on February 20, 2024. The e-auction bidding will commence thereafter.

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