Mines auction: Govt mulls setting up SPVs for speedy clearances
New Delhi: The mines ministry is looking at setting up special purpose vehicles (SPVs) that will acquire necessary project clearances, including environmental, for the mineral blocks before bidding, a move that may add pace to the auction process, an official has said.
It may be noted that 60 auction attempts have failed in two years from January 2015 to March 2017.
“We are mulling setting up SPVs for seeking clearances such as environment and forest before auctioning the mineral blocks,” a mines ministry official privy to the development said.
At present, there are significant delays in seeking forest and environment clearances and as a result a lot of companies are not keen to participate in the auction of mineral blocks, the official said, adding “that’s why we are thinking to set up special purpose vehicles”.
In the power sector, Power Finance Corporation (PFC)—the nodal agency for the development of ultra mega power projects —sets up separate SPVs for ultra mega power projects (UMPPs) to act as authorised representatives of the procurers (distribution companies of the power procuring states).
The SPVs are responsible for carrying out various activities on behalf of the procurers. Completion of these activities prior to award of the project is considered necessary to enhance the investor confidence, reduce risk perception and get a good response to the competitive bidding process.
The mines ministry has so far auctioned 33 mineral blocks. In order to to generate fresh interest from miners for auctions of mineral blocks, the government recently amended the rules to allow wider participation and reduce the chances of auctions getting called off.
The government had expressed hopes that the changes will translate into fewer failures and quicker disposal of assets. The government is looking to line up 34 mineral blocks for auction in the remainder of 2017-18 and up to 70 in 2018- 19.
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