The Supreme Court has lifted the blanket ban on iron ore mining in Karnataka's Bellary-Hospet area and permitted state-owned National Mineral development Corporation (NMDC) to operate two of its mines there.
This will help NMDC to produce one million tonnes of iron ore a month, enough to meet its the domestic supply commitments.
The apex court, however, has imposed a clear ban on exports from such production. The ban on mining in the region by private companies will continue, the court said.
NMDC has also to pay the state government a royalty at 10 per cent of the current market value of the production and maintain an account of the same, the SC directed.
The state government has so far been charging royalty on iron ore mined from the state at 10 per cent of the rate fixed by the Indian Bureau of Mines at the pithead, which is way down the actual market value.
The SC has directed the state government to use the extra earnings in royalty for rehabilitation of the mined area. It has also been asked to submit the rehabilitation and reclamation plan for the Bellary district within three months.