Our current mineral policy has almost eliminated entry barriers for mineral exploration entrepreneurs. Mineral exploration start-ups and even an enterprising geologist with a bright idea can now secure a Composite License (CL). The CL includes exploration and mining rights and is applied online at the Ministry of Mines website. Environmentally sensitive and strategically important areas are predefined as exclusions in the application map on the website. Rules permit mineral exploration entrepreneurs to locate their areas of interest on the online GIS based map and apply for a CL on the click of a mouse. Any Citizen of India (with a valid Aadhar number) or a business incorporated in India (with a valid CIN) can immediately secure a CL on the Ministry of Mines website by paying a fixed starting CL fee of ₹ 2000 per hectare plus GST. In order to encourage rapid exploration the government expects the CL holder to immediately file a work plan and investment plan. The CL is granted immediately online if the area is available and the fees are paid. The explorer must conduct ecologically and socially responsible exploration and follow industry best practices in letter and in spirit.
When we respect nature and treasure our land, the land bestows upon us its immense riches– Dr Amit Tripathi
As a part of its annual report, every CL holder reports the work done and investments made. Closing date for all such reports will be same as the financial year closing of March 31 and reports are submitted by June 30. Audited balance sheets are accepted as a proof of the investments made as long as GST invoices for those expenses are certified by the company CA. The CL can be held in perpetuity, however, the CL holding fee doubles every year until mining starts and mining royalty starts accruing. This fee becomes due on April 1 of every year and can be paid by last Friday of June by paying a late fee of double the due amount. All fees are paid online or deposited directly through a treasury challan. In case the fee is not paid by the due date the CL is automatically revoked.
DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or businesses, or actual events is purely coincidental.