By: Suresh P Iyengar
NMDC has been the leaseholder for Donimalai iron ore mine since 1968
In a major relief to National Mineral Development Corporation, the Central Government has amended the Mineral (Mining by Government Company) Rules, 2015, and made renewal of mining leases of public sector companies mandatory without going through the auction process.
The amendment effected through a notification said the State Government, upon receiving an application for the renewal of a mining lease by a government company shall for reasons to be recorded in writing, extend the period of mining lease for further period up to 20 years at a time.
As per the old norms, the word “may” was used in placed of “shall” giving scope for various interpretations by the state governments. The new amendment paves way for renewal of NMDC’s iron ore mining lease at Donimalai in Bellari district of Karnataka. NMDC suspended operations at the mine after its lease expired in November 2018.