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Vedanta, Ola among bidders of 20 critical mineral blocks in first phase

India also launches second phase of auction of 18 critical mineral blocks spread across eight states

Vedanta, Ola among bidders of 20 critical mineral blocks in first phase
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

Mining companies Vedanta Ltd, Coal India Ltd, and NLC India Ltd are among the 50 bidders in the first tranche of auction for 20 critical mineral blocks in the country, the government said this week.

Ola Electric, Jindal Power, Dalmia Group, Shree Cement, Orient Cements, and Rungta Group are also among the bidders for strategic mineral blocks in the first tranche, which was launched on 29 November, the Union mines ministry said on Thursday.

The blocks consist of minerals such as lithium, glauconite, nickel, PGE, potash, graphite, molybdenum, phosphorite and rare earth elements. The blocks are spread across Bihar, Chattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, a government statement said.

The bidders represent a wide array of sectors such as mining companies, EV manufacturers, cement producers, and the energy sector, it added.

The tender documents were released until 13 February, with the last date for submission of bids being 26 February. More than 180 tender documents were purchased by interested bidders, the government said.

In a related development, Union mines minister Pralhad Joshi on Thursday also launched the second tranche of e-auction of critical and strategic minerals.

In the second tranche, a total of 18 critical mineral blocks would be auctioned, of which 17 blocks are put up for grant of composite licence and one for grant of a mining lease, the government said in a separate release.

“In the first tranche, 20 blocks were put up for auction. We are delighted with the interest shown by mining industry for the encouraging response. The blocks put for auction in the second tranche represents a diverse array of critical and strategic minerals essential for various industries. These minerals consisted of tungsten, vanadium, graphite, rare earth elements, glauconite, phosphorite, nickel, platinum group of minerals, cobalt, and potash,” Joshi said.

Last August, the government had amended the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR Act) to classify 24 minerals as critical and strategic.
The amendment allowed the central government to grant mineral concession for minerals specified in Part D of the First Schedule. The revenue generated from these auctions shall accrue to the state governments.

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