Apex court allows NMDC to operate mines in Bellary

Private mining to remain suspended

By Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava
Published: Friday 05 August 2011

The Supreme Court today allowed state-owned National Minerals Development Corporation (NMDC) to operate its mines to meet the domestic requirements of iron ore in Karnataka's Bellary district. The organisation will produce iron ore to the tune of one million tonnes per month.

Work on all private mines will, however, remain suspended and no part of the iron ore extracted by the NMDC will be exported.

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The special forest bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia also directed that a macro-level environment impact assessment (EIA) be undertaken and the report be submitted within three months. The EIA will be done by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) in collaboration with Wildlife Institute of India and Forest Survey of India in consultation with The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest.

The bench also directed the Karnataka government to furnish within three months the reclamation and rehabilitation plan of Bellary district.

The court also asked NMDC to pay a royalty at the rate of 10 per cent of the current market rate of iron ore to the state government. So far, the royalty was being paid at 10 per cent of  Indian Bureau of Mines rate. This was far less than the market rate. The difference in amount will be used for rehabilitation and reclamation in Bellary.

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