Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2023

Last updated: 11 December 2023

The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2023, amenda the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, with the aim of strengthening the exploration and extraction of critical minerals essential for India's economic development and national security. The key amendments brought about by the bill include: 
1.       Removal of 6 minerals from the list of 12 atomic minerals limited to exploration by State agencies (i.e., lithium, beryllium, niobium, titanium, tantalum and zirconium). This opens up opportunities for private sector involvement in their exploration and mining. 
2.       Empowering the government to exclusively auction mineral concessions for critical minerals, including rare earth elements, graphite, cobalt, lithium, nickel, phosphate, potash and tin. Revenue generated from these auctions will go to the concerned State Governments, accelerating the pace of auctions and production for vital industries like space, electronics and energy transition. 
3.       Introduction of Exploration Licences (EL) to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and engage junior mining companies in exploring deep-seated and critical minerals like gold, platinum, rare earth elements, etc. While 100% FDI is allowed in mining, there has been limited investment in these sectors. The EL, granted through auction, enables licensees to conduct reconnaissance and prospecting for specified minerals. The amendment aims to create a favourable legal environment, encouraging FDI and junior mining companies. The preferred bidder for EL will be selected through reverse bidding and explored blocks can be auctioned for mining lease, generating revenue for state governments. The focus on deep-seated minerals, crucial for electronics, clean energy and traditional sectors, aims to reduce dependence on imports. The proposed regime encourages private sector involvement, bringing advanced technology and expertise to expedite exploration and mining of these critical minerals.

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