Not many takers for legal iron ore mining

Not many takers for legal iron ore mining

August 17, 2022

More licences to be granted to stone crushing units to produce M-Sand: Minister Halappa

Bengaluru: The Karnataka Government started the process to auction iron ore mines under ‘Category C’ by a Supreme Court direction but to its surprise, there are not many takers. 

Following the Supreme Court order, the State Government identified 28 mines and fixed the auction amount per tonne of iron ore. But of the 28, only 12 have been taken by the contractors, abandoning the 16 mines. Now the Government has decided to call the tenders again.

Mines and Geology Minister Halappa Achar told reporters in Bengaluru yesterday that 12 of the 28 mineral blocks in the State were auctioned.

“Preparations are on to auction the remaining blocks, which will contribute significantly to increasing revenue for the department. In the last fiscal, revenue generated by the Department was Rs. 6,308 crore, which is a 145 percent increase compared to Rs. 4,357 crore in 2019-20,” Achar said.  

More stone crushing units

To meet the growing demand for sand, more licences will be granted to stone crushing units for the production of M-Sand, the Minister said. “The Government is mulling changes in the sand policy to increase the production of M-Sand. While the annual demand is 45 lakh metric tonnes, we are facing a shortage of 5 lakh metric tonnes,” he added. 

“Over 35 lakh metric tonnes of sand were being supplied from M-Sand manufacturing units and over five lakh metric tonnes are being extracted from natural sources. We are still short of 5 lakh metric tonnes of sand,” he said.

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On the 5 lakh metric tonnes of sand extracted from natural sources, he said that Hatti Mining Company is entrusted with the distribution of this sand in 15 districts, whereas Karnataka State Minerals Corporation Ltd. will distribute it in the remaining 16 districts

Gram Panchayats have been empowered to extract sand within their limits so that the demand is met. “We are also wary about illegal sand extraction. In such cases, the respective district administration will be held responsible,” he warned.

On the sand prices, the Minister said that the Government has fixed Rs. 800 for every tonne of sand and M-Sand is being sold at Rs. 700 to Rs. 1,200 per tonne.

‘Maralu Mitra’ app

To ensure a smooth supply of sand as per demand in a transparent manner, the ‘Maralu Mitra’ app is being developed. “A few districts have already taken steps to supply sand in a transparent manner through the app. Very soon, one app for the entire State will be developed,” Minister Halappa Achar said.

“The app will be connected to the GPS of the sand transporting trucks, geo-tagging and geo-fencing. This will check the sale of sand in the black market,” he added.


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