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Bihar mining: Bihar govt initiates auction process for glauconite, iron ore mines worth Rs 20,000 cr

The Bihar government has initiated a process for auctioning of glauconite and iron ore reserves worth Rs 20,000 crore in Rohtas and Jamui districts and will engage SBI Capital Markets to prepare a report for the same, an official said on Saturday. The government held a meeting with several stakeholders recently to initiate the auction process, Additional Chief Secretary-cum-Mines Commissioner Harjot Kaur Bamhrah said.

“The state government will shortly issue an order for engaging SBI Capital Markets as the transaction advisor and also to suggest terms and conditions based on which the auctions would be conducted,” Bamhrah told PTI.

The state government has asked SBI CAPS, the investment bank and project advisor, to submit a detailed report, she said.

“Once the report is submitted, the state government will initiate the process of granting permission to allow mining of glauconite and iron ore reserves worth Rs 20,000 crore, in Rohtas and Jamui districts on a lease basis,” the mines commissioner said.

Glauconite, a common source of potassium in fertilisers, is useful in increasing soil fertility, while iron ore is the essential raw material for making steel.

Earlier, there was a perception that Bihar lost its mineral wealth following the creation of Jharkhand in 2000, she said.

“In fact, Bihar has sufficient mineral resources to boost its economy,” Bamhrah said. This is for the first time since the creation of Jharkhand, the Bihar government has initiated a process of allowing mining activities for the state’s mineral reserves.

Besides, the state government has also decided to amend its industrial promotion policy by including provisions to encourage private participation in the mining sector, she said.

“The decision to make suitable changes in the Bihar Industrial Promotion Policy to encourage private participation in the mining sector, as it has been done by the Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand governments, was taken in a recent meeting chaired by the state chief secretary,” Bamhrah said.

The state government has earmarked two glauconite mines worth Rs 14,048 crore in Pipradih and Chutia-Nauhatta blocks of Rohtas district for auction.

Besides, the Mines and Geology Department has decided to allow mining activities in iron ore deposits, worth Rs 6000 crore, in Jamui, she said.

“The SBI CAPS will decide modalities of the mineral auction by way of demarcation and assessment of blocks, tender process, reserve price fixation and eligibility criteria among others,” Bamhrah said.

The state has seven blocks of rare minerals that are ready for the auction, she added.

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