MINES & MINERAL AMENDMENT BILL 2023 (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 - Polity)

News-CRUX-10     19th August 2023        
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Context: Lithium to niobium, export ban on 4 critical new energy metals on the table.

  • The 2023 Bill Allows Private Exploration And Mining For The First Time On Six Atomic Minerals, With These Four Minerals Included Among Them.
  • The government is planning to introduce a ban on the export of these minerals because of their importance in powering sectors critical to national security and technological advancements,”

About Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023
Omission of minerals- It omits of 6 minerals from the list of 12 atomic minerals specified in Part-B of the First Schedule of the Act.

  • It gives the Central Government the authority to conduct sole auctions for essential mineral rights.
  • Allows prohibited activities: It now permits activities like pitting, trenching, drilling, and sub-surface excavation for reconnaissance purposes, which were previously not allowed.
  • Net Zero by 2070: It would help India to achieve carbon net neutral by 2070 that was committed at COP26 Glasgow summit.
  • Once it's passed into law, the Central government will be authorized to hold auctions for mining leases and combined licenses for vital minerals like gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, nickel, and more.

Lithium (Li): A soft and shiny gray metal, that is present in the Earth's crust. It's an extremely reactive and alkaline element.

  • Primarily utilized in ceramics, glasses, greases, pharmaceuticals, air conditioners, and aluminum production.
  • Its most significant application is in batteries due to its exceptional energy storage capacity per kilogram.

Beryllium (Be): Beryllium is a somewhat soft metal that's both fragile and sturdy. 

  • It's applied as a covering on X-ray tubes due to its ability to let X-rays pass through. It finds uses in the military and nuclear sectors.

 Niobium (Nb): It is an element in the Periodic Table with atomic number 41, and it's denoted by the symbol Nb.

  • It's a gentle, stretchable transition metal that doesn't corrode easily because it has a protective oxide layer on its surface.

Tantalum (Ta): In its pure state, tantalum has a bright and silvery appearance.

  • This metal can withstand corrosion and is not easily affected by chemicals at temperatures below 150°C.
  • Tantalum is present in nature in significant quantities, similar to the presence of uranium.