By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, October 5, 2019: Odisha government on Friday issued a notification for online auction of 10 mineral blocks.

The Directorate of Mines has issued the notification for electronic auction of seven iron ore blocks and three blocks of iron ore and manganese for the purpose of granting mining leases.

The seven iron ore blocks are Nuagaon, Thakurani, Jilling-Langalota, Jaribahal, Roida-II, Jururi and Ganua.

The Siljora-Kalimati, Narayanposhi and Mahulsukha iron & manganese blocks have also been put on auction.

In fact, the mine auctions have been delayed by a year with the state government seeking hike in the area cap that disqualified Tata Steel from participating in iron ore auctions.

The state government only recently has gone on fast track of the auctions process after getting the go-ahead from the Union mines ministry on hiking mining lease area cap to 58 square kilometres (sq km), up from 10 sq km prescribed in Mines and Minerals- Development & Regulation (MMDR) Act.

Prior to this, auctions of iron ore and other mineral virtually came to a standstill. Not a single mineral block could be auctioned in the state in FY19 as the matter related to mine lease area ceiling got enmeshed in litigation.

The Delhi High Court had stalled auctions until clarity emerged on the eligibility for acquiring an additional mine by a lessee who already held in excess of 10 sq km.

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