Chapter 2:MINERAL AND MINES

Introduction

Major minerals are in Union list and Minor minerals are under State list.

Mines and Minerals [Development and Regulation] Act, 2015

  1. Union can decide procedures for auction and technicalities. It can also reserve mines for select end users or P.S.U's.
  2. States can grant licenses to bidders for all minerals except Coal / Lignite. They can allow license to be transferred by winner to others. They conduct actual auction via competitive bidding.
  3. An integrated license for prospecting and mining launched unlike separate licenses for each this can improve ease of doing business.
  4. Earlier license granted for 30 years but now 50 years.Previously 10 sq km area for licensee but now union can increase size too.
  5. Two new organizations created: National Mineral Exploration Trust, District Mineral Foundation. D.M.F to solve public grievance redressal, safeguard rights of public or tribals.
  6. Special courts can be setup to curb illegal mining.
  7. DMF funds shall be used to implement PM Khanji Kshetra Kalyan yojana. 

The objective of PMKKKY scheme will be

(a) to implement various developmental and welfare projects/programs in mining affected areas that complement the existing ongoing schemes/projects of State and Central Government;

(b) to minimize/mitigate the adverse impacts, during and after mining, on the environment, health and socioeconomic of people in mining districts; and

(c) to ensure long-term sustainable livelihoods for the affected people in mining areas.

Problems with M.M.D.R:

  1. No independent regulatory for mining sector.
  2. No mechanism for dispute resolution between union and states.
  3. No limits on mining so can lead to environment degradation.
  4. Gram Sabha not given rights even for scheduled and tribal areas. No mining rights for tribal cooperatives.
  5. States given power to set rules so can lead to non uniform policies and regime change can affect stability of policy.

Coal Mines [Special Provisions] Bill, 2015

The Supreme court cancelled 204 coal blocks allotted to private players in violation of transparency rules. The government thus brought an Act for re auction of mines with a transparent mechanism.

Provisions:

  1. Classify mines into three categories: Class I for power consumers only. Union can reclassify mines from class I to III. Class II mines for specific end users and Class III mines for power, steel and cement firms.
  2. Joint secretary level officer to oversee bidding process. Public, private and joint ventures can bid.
  3. Compensation to previous owner for land and mining infrastructure.
  4. Chattisgarh earned maximum revenues.
  5. Class I mines for power sector PSU's so cheaper power and can help Make in India. Union also with power to use mines for public interest purposes. E-auction meant higher revenues for states.
  6. Iron, steel, cement companies were allotted mines on forward bidding mechanism i.e. highest bidder wins. But for power companies the lowest bidder i.e. supplier of power at lowest cost won.

Drawbacks:

  1. If power company gets bogus quality coal then it shall have to import it but no provision for increasing tariff with inflation or fuel charge adjustment.
  2. Two stage bidding was done for technical competency and financial bid. But no independent committee to check technical strength of company.
  3. Bill ignores land acquisition, forest rights and environmental concerns.

Distribution of primary commercial energy in India:


  • Coal is abundant but is concentrated in the eastern region which accounts for 70% of the total coal resources of the country


  • The Western region of India has over 70 per cent of hydro-carbon reserves in the country


  • More than 70 per cent of the total hydro potential in the country is located in the Northern and North - Eastern region


  • The southern region has only 6 per cent of the coal reserves and 10 per cent of the total hydro potential but has almost 100 per cent of lignite deposits of the country.






Q.With reference to ‘fly ash’ produced by the power plants using the coal as fuel, which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. Fly ash can be used in the production of bricks for building construction
2. Fly ash can be used as a replacement for some of the Portland cement contents of concrete
3. Fly ash is made up of silicon dioxide and calcium oxide only, and does not contain any toxic elements.
Select the correct answer using the code given below (UPSC CSAT 2015)


  • 1 and 2


  • 2 only


  • 1 and 3


  • 3 only



Ans . A


  1. Fly ash from coal-fired thermal power stations is an excellent potential raw material for the manufacture of construction material like blended cement, fly ash bricks, mosaic tiles and hollow blocks. It also has other, high volume applications and can be used for paving roads, building embankments, and mine fills.

  2. Fly ash contains trace concentrations of heavy metals and other substances that are known to be detrimental to health in sufficient quantities.

  3. Potentially toxic trace elements in coal include arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, barium, chromium, copper, lead, mercury, molybdenum, nickel, radium, selenium, thorium, uranium, vanadium, and zinc.

Quiz

Score more than 80% marks and move ahead else stay back and read again!