Need for consent of affected families and social-impact assessment could go

The MMDR Bill had proposed sharing of miner's profits with the project-affected people amongst other things

The UPA's attempt to overhaul the law governing malpractice-ridden mining sector by replacing a 50-year-old legislation, has been wasted with the new mining bill lapsing. The Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Bill had proposed sharing of miner's profits with the project-affected people amongst other things, but with the last Lok Sabha being dissolved for elections, the Bill has lapsed.

Canada and Australia top the list of countries which spend on mineral exploration with 19% and 12% respectively of global share

Despite being a mineral-rich country, India’s share in the global exploration budget has been less than 0.5 per cent, which might explain why the country’s proven reserves are only 5-10 per cent of the estimated total resources.

To explain to Supreme Court the economic impact of the ban

The Ministry of Mines is expected to soon file an affidavit in the Supreme Court (SC) explaining the need to lift the ban on mining in major iron ore producing states, including Goa and Karnataka.

The Supreme Court had banned mining in Karnataka in July 2011

The crisis seems to be far from over for the mining industry in Karnataka, Goa and Odisha, the three major iron ore producing states in the country. Though some relief came for the industry in Karnataka last year and again in April this year with the Supreme Court allowing partial resumption of mining operations, normalcy in the sector may not return anytime soon.

The green revalidation for the Korean major is stuck with the expert panel

Minister for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan has said the government has not firmed up its views on green clearance for the Rs 52,000-crore Posco project in Odisha. The expert appraisal committee (EAC) was yet to submit its report to her ministry. “It is only after they submit the report that we can think about the final clearances,” Natarajan told Business Standard.

Policy could end land acquisition and green nod problems, and encourage foreign investors

The new steel policy, likely to be announced in a month, is expected to iron out issues related to foreign direct investments, land acquisitions and environment clearances. The draft of the new policy, seen as a stimulus measure, has been circulated for final comments and it would be announced soon, a senior steel ministry official told Business Standard.

The coal ministry has asked power companies having coal block allocations to participate in the bids for sale of power from end-use projects in line with the guidelines from the ministry of power. Else, they face cancellation of their coal blocks.

The directive came after the ministry of power recommended cancellation of allocations to power companies not selling electricity through rate-based bidding. The coal ministry has also asked the companies to take necessary steps accordingly and file compliance report to it, along with ministry of power and the coal controller. The directive has incorporated it as a condition in the allocation letter even for already allotted coal blocks for power sector IPPs.

At a time when coal supply constraints are keeping thermal power generation capacity under-utilised, hydropower producers, too, are facing the heat. Reservoir levels are down to 16 per cent from 27 per cent last year, setting the alarm bells ringing for hydropower generators. If rainfall fails, the situation could turn grim.

Some initial impact has already started appearing. In the Nathpa Jhakri hydro power station, run by Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd (SJVN), in Himachal Pradesh, low rains have already affected power generation.

As the country braces for a harsh summer ahead, the average coal stock at about 25 thermal power plants has reached a ‘supercritical’ level. These plants have enough supplies for less than four days, against a normal range of 20-30 days.

According to data from the Central Electricity Authority, the stock at 30 plants, with a total capacity of about 26,320 Mw, is at a critical level (would last less than seven days). Of these, 25 plants, with a capacity of over 21,000 Mw, have stocks at ‘supercritical’ levels. Four plants have virtually no stock.