The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2008 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on October 17, 2008. The Bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Coal & Steel (Chairperson: Dr. Satyanarayan Jatiya). The Standing Committee presented its report on February 19, 2009.
- The Bill amends the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, which regulates mines and development of minerals.
- The 1957 Act states that prospecting or mining operations can be undertaken only after obtaining a prospecting licence or a mining lease. It specifies rules for granting licences or leases.
- The Bill seeks to allow the state government to grant a prospecting licence or mining lease for coal and lignite to private companies through auction by competitive bidding. The companies that can bid should be engaged in production of iron and steel, general of power and washing of coal obtained from mines.
- Certain areas are exempted from the auction. These includes (a) areas which are considered for allocation to a government company, and (b) areas which is considered for allocation to a company that has got a power project on the basis of competitive bids for tariff.