The Supreme Court today allowed 18 mines to resume mining iron ore in Karnataka with certain conditions following a suspension of over a year on environment concerns.
A three-judge forest Bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam accepted the report of the court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC), which had said the 21 operational and 24 non-operational leases of Category 'A' leases be allowed to carry on their business as they have not violated any rules.
However, the ban on mining of iron ore for the remaining leases will continue.
In its report, the CEC had categorised the mines in the area into three categories as A, B and C. The mines with the least or no irregularities were marked as 'A' category and those with the most illegalities were put in 'C' category.
The order will lead to opening up of about 5MTPA of ore production again. The output from the re-started mines will be in addition to state-owned NMDC's 1 million tonnes per month, which was permitted by the Supreme Court on 5 August 2011 (See: Supreme Court allows limited mining by NMDC in Bellary). The order was confined to two NMDC mines in the Bellary-Hospet area.
However, the apex court, had imposed a clear ban on exports from such production. The ban on mining in the region by private companies was allowed to continue.