Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023

  • 29 Jul 2023

On 27th July, the bill to amend the offshore areas mineral law was introduced in Lok Sabha.

Key Points:

  • Aim: The Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023, aims to enable the mining of rocks beneath the sea, allowing the utilization of national wealth in the sea for the benefit of the country's people.
  • Facilitating Auction of Minerals: The original Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act of 2002 did not permit the auction of minerals mined offshore.
  • Enhancing Transparency and Participation: The Bill seeks to improve transparency in the allocation of mineral resources and proposes granting production leases only through auction.
  • Public-Private cooperation: It also encourages public-private sector participation, with the private sector bringing expertise and technology to explore and mine mineral resources in India's territorial waters and continental shelf.
  • Area Limits and Lease Period: The proposed Bill introduces limits on the area for exploration and production lease. It specifies that an area under a production lease shall not exceed 15 minutes latitude by 15 minutes longitude.
  • Area of reservation: Additionally, individuals cannot acquire more than 45 minutes latitude by 45 minutes longitude for any mineral or group of associated minerals under exploration, composite, and production leases combined. The production lease period is increased to 50 years.
  • Ease of Business and Transfer: Provisions have been made for the easy transfer of exploration, composite, and production leases to promote ease of doing business in the sector.
  • Central Government's Powers: The central government is granted powers to revise orders made by the Administering Authority, issue directions, and seek information from the Administering Authority in the public interest.
  • Maritime Resource Potential: The draft Bill emphasizes the need to harness India's maritime resources optimally.