NEW DELHI: The Madhya Pradesh government has started afresh the pilot round of auction of diamond mines, a day after it was scrapped due to poor response. A good response is expected from companies this time round, officials said, citing interactions with the bidders. Vivek Austin, director, geology and mining, said some firms could not complete the formalities for bidding and have requested fresh auctions. "Last time, dueto some confusion, bidders submitted the bids in physical form but could not submit them online in time as was required," Austin told ET. "They have made representations to us, so we annulled the earlier process and restarted it. This time we are confident that all four blocks will get good response." The state government on Saturday invited fresh technical and financial bids for the four blocks - one diamond and three limestone blocks. The last day for online purchase of tender document is August 29 while the deadline for submission of bids is September 3. Madhya Pradesh had earlier invited bids on May 4. The Hatupur diamond mine in Panna district is spread over 133 hectares with expected 0.604 million tonnes of reserves of 10.20 carat diamonds. The Nimarmunda limestone mine has 7.51 million tonnes of reserves, the Badarkha mine has 17.2 million tonnes and Ghuinsa limestone block possesses 9.98 million tonnes. Currently, the Panna mine, run by state-owned NMDC Ltd, is the only operational diamond mine in the country.
"Since less than three bids were received for the above blocks, pursuant to Clause 8.1 (A) (d) of the tender document, the auction process for all of the above mentioned four blocks stands cancelled," a notification issued by the state's mineral resource department, Directorate of Geology and Mining, on July 26 said.
Meanwhile, the Union mines ministry will host a meeting on Thursday to ascertain the status of mineral auctions by states in the next two financial years. The meeting will also discuss ways to expedite renewal of mining lease applications pending at various stages.
The agenda includes other issues including mineral conservation and development rules, offshore area mineral concession rules, and progress in setting up district mineral fund and new mineral exploration policy.
New mines minister Piyush Goyal has set a target to raise contribution of the mines sector to the GDP by one percentage point in the next three years. The sector currently contributes 2.6% to the GDP.