SC lifts ban on 18 iron ore mines in Karnataka (Lead)

September 3rd, 2012 - 9:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) The Supreme Court Monday lifted the ban on iron ore mining in 18 category A mines in Karnataka’s Bellary, Chitradurg and Timkur districts.

Category A mines are those where miners either committed no illegality or committed minor illegalities during their operations.

The apex court forest bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam said the lifting of the ban would only be effective in 18 category A mines, subject to their compliance with statutory clearances.

Justice Alam pronounced the order permitting the resumption of mining operations.

These 18 mines were green flagged for resumption of mining operations after they were cleared by the court-appointed Central Empowered Committee on the environmental matters in its latest report given last week.

The court Aug 31, during the hearing of the Karnataka mining matter, had given ample indication that it was inclined to permit mining operations in the 18 mines.

The court in the last hearing had told steel manufacturers’ counsel Prashant Bhushan: “We fully appreciate your concerns but we can’t put the state in a pre-iron stage.”

The court said “you will survive and we will not let you pass away”.

The judges said that “we want to ensure that minimum requirement of iron ore (are met) with minimum damage to environment…”

The court Monday said the statutory clearances involved approval from the mining department, environmental clearance, pollution clearance from the state pollution control board and undertaking by the mining lease owners that they will comply with comprehensive plans for rehabilitation and reclamation of the depleted mines in a time-bound manner.

Mining operations will commence only upon the satisfaction of the monitoring committee about the compliance of statutory clearances by the mine lease owners.

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