Odisha, the country's top iron ore producing state, is likely to renew licences of 18 of the state's 26 closed iron ore mines soon, reports quoting the state's mining director Deepak Kumar Mohanty said on Monday.
The decision follows recommendation of an inter-departmental committee headed by Development Commissioner UN Behera.
The committee made the recommendation after a meeting attended by principal secretary for steel and mines, directors of mines and geology and principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) as well as officials of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) and the Odisha Remote Sensing Applications Centre (ORSAC).
The committee on Saturday recommended that the state's 26 closed mines be reopened. The recommendation was made in accordance with the provisions of the MMDR Amendment Act 2015.
The suggested 26 closed mines include the 18 iron ore and manganese ore mines closed for second and subsequent renewals following the Supreme Court's orders last year and eight iron and manganese ores which were operating under express orders.
The re-opening of the 18 mines will bring back iron ore output in Odisha to the pre-closure level of 70 million tonnes this fiscal, from around 51 million tonnes produced in the year ended 31 March 2015.
The panel has also recommended an extension of the lease period for eight separate mines in the state belonging to Tata Steel, Steel Authority of India and Odisha Mining Corp.
The Supreme Court had last year ordered the closure of nearly half of the 56 mines operating in Odisha because they were operating without a renewal of years-old leases.