Scheme to Directly Approve Private Mines Project

  • Launched by the Ministry of Mines.
  • The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, MMDR Act was amended through the MMDR Amendment Act, 2021, w.e.f. 28/3/2021.
  • It empowers the Central Government to notify entities, including private entities that may undertake prospecting operations.
  • The interested agencies must obtain accreditation and apply for notification.
  • Since March 2022 Ministry of Mines has notified 16 Private Exploration Agencies through State Governments, funded by NMET (National Mineral Exploration Trust).
  • 11 out of 17 are critical minerals.

Critical Minerals:

  • Through an amendment in the MMDR Act on 17th August 2023, 24 minerals such as Graphite, Nickel, PGE, REE, Potash etc. were notified as Critical and Strategic minerals by the Ministry of Mines.
  • It confers the power to grant mineral concession of these minerals to the Central Government.
  • Government can prioritize the auction of these minerals.
  • These critical minerals are indispensable for the growth of the economy.

New Norms:

  • To increase the pace of exploration in the country for these minerals, the Ministry of Mines has notified a transformative scheme.
  • Wherein NPEAs (Notified Private Exploration Agencies) will be directly sanctioning exploration projects for minerals mentioned in Part D of the First Schedule and Seventh Schedule of MMDR Act, 1957 from NMET.
  • These agencies will be allowed to bid in the auction of mineral blocks explored by them, which was not allowed earlier.
  • The provision to allow exploration agencies to bid to auction will attract bigger companies.
  • Expected to encourage junior mining companies from around the world to come to India and take up exploration projects with NMET funding.
Posted in Current Affairs.