- The Government has amended the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation Act 1957 (MMDR Act). The amendment removed discretion by instituting auction to be the sole method of grant of major mineral concessions and, thereby bringing in greater transparency. It also provided the much-needed impetus to the mining industry by deemed extension of mining leases. The Salient features of the recent amendments are:
- Mineral Concessions Grant through Auctions to bring transparency and remove discretion.
- District Mineral Foundation (DMF) to address the grievances of the people affected by mining and in turn improve the image of the mining industry.
- National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET) for incentivizing regional and detailed exploration to fill the gaps in exploration in the country.
- Mining Leases for 50 years and even the existing leases deemed extended eliminating any renewals for security of tenure.
- Stronger penal provisions have been put in place to check illegal mining. A penalty of up to (approximately) $7200 per hectare of the area and jail term of up to 5 years is the probable punishment for illegal mining.
- National Mineral Exploration Policy 2016 announced in July 2016. Around 100 blocks have been identified by Geological Survey of India for auctioning on revenue sharing mechanism for regional exploration to encourage private participation in exploration. The bidders would be protected by way of entitlement for a normative cost in the event unsuccessful outcome after exploration. The mechanism is being formulated in consultation with the stakeholders.