Odisha Channel Bureau Bhubaneswar, Aug 3: It seems all hope is still not lost for POSCO-India Private Limited in Odisha.Though media reports recently indicated that the steel maker had kept its Odisha steel project on the hold, the company still has the chance of getting prospecting licence for the Khandadhar mines.The Centre may grant prospecting licence to the South Korean steel maker if the Odisha Government recommends to the Centre again after examining whether the application is eligible under Section 10A of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015.“Government of India (Ministry of Mines) had received a proposal of the Government of Odisha for grant of Prospecting Licence to POSCO for iron ore in Odisha,” according to Minister of State in the Ministry of Steel and Mines Vishnu Deo Sai.“On 7th April, 2015, Government of India has advised the State Government of Odisha to examine whether the application is eligible under Section 10A of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015,” the Minister said in reply to a question in Lok Sabha today.“In case the application is eligible Government of India will take further action based on the recommendation of the State Government,” the Minister said in his reply.What does Section 10A of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015 say? According to The Gazette of India Extraordinary, “10A.(1) All applications received prior to the date of commencement of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, shall become ineligible.(2) Without prejudice to sub-section (1), the following shall remain eligible on and from the date of commencement of the Mines and Minerals (Development andRegulation) Amendment Act, 2015:—(a) applications received under section 11A of this Act;(b) where before the commencement of the Mines and Minerals(Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015 a reconnaissance permit or prospecting licence has been granted in respect of any land for any mineral, the permit holder or the licensee shall have a right for obtaining a prospecting licence followed by a mining lease, or a mining lease, as the case may be, in respect of that mineral in that land, if the State Government is satisfied that the permit holder or the licensee, as the case may be,—(i) has undertaken reconnaissance operations or prospecting operations, as the case may be, to establish the existence of mineral contents in such land in accordance with such parameters as may be prescribed by the Central Government;(ii) has not committed any breach of the terms and conditions of the reconnaissance permit or the prospecting licence;(iii) has not become ineligible under the provisions of this Act; and(iv) has not failed to apply for grant of prospecting licence or mining lease, as the case may be, within a period of three months after the expiry of reconnaissance permit or prospecting licence, as the case may be, or within such further period not exceeding six months as may be extended by the State Government;(c) where the Central Government has communicated previous approval as required under sub-section (1) of section 5 for grant of a mining lease, or if a letter of intent (by whatever name called) has been issued by the State Government to grant a mining lease, before the commencement of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, the mining lease shall be granted subject to fulfilment of the conditions of the previous approval or of the letter of intent within a period of two years from the date of commencement of the said Act:Provided that in respect of any mineral specified in the First Schedule, no prospecting licence or mining lease shall be granted under clause (b) of this subsection except with the previous approval of the Central Government.
August 3, 2015
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