New Delhi: Mining operations in Karnataka are likely to resume from on Tuesday, a senior state government official said. Partially lifting its ban on mining operations in Karnataka ordered more than a year back, the Supreme Court on Monday gave its green signal for extraction of iron ores on 18 leases subject to certain conditions being fulfilled.
According to Karnataka's Director (Mines) HR Srinivasa, one mine in Chitradurga district belonging to Mineral Enterprises Ltd (MEL) can begin production immediately after Monday's apex court order as they have all the statutory approvals.
"MEL has all the clearances, they can begin the production from tomorrow. I would direct my office tomorrow to issue necessary orders for that," he said.
The production of MEL's mine has been capped at 3,70,000 tonnes by an apex court appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC).
According to Supreme Court order, 18 mines in Karnataka, which have been found least violative of the rules by the CEC and were put in Category-A, can resume operations if they meet certain conditions.
The conditions include obtaining all the statutory clearances and meeting other criteria including acceptance of reclamation and rehabilitation (R&R) plan of the mines by the CEC and mine owners giving an undertaking to abide by the R&R plan meticulously.
According to Srinivasa, 3-4 more mines, who have most of the clearances, would get the permission within next 10 days to reopen their mines after Monday's apex court order.
He further said 8 million tonnes (MT) of iron ore can get produced annually, if all the 18 mines obtain necessary clearances.
Hailing the apex court order, industry body FIMI's Secretary General R K Sharma said, "This is a positive development. I think 12-13 mines would be able to begin production in next 3-4 months after obtaining all clearances and a total of 5 MT iron ore production can be expected annually."
According to Sharma, 5 mines, out of the 18, have some court cases pending and are unlikely to begin production in the near term.
Welcoming the development, Kiroloskar Ferrous' Managing Director RV Gumaste said, "this will increase the iron ore supplies little bit as all the mines do not have required approvals. But some thing is better than nothing."
Echoing similar views, BMM Ispat's Managing Director Dinesh Kumar Singhi said, "All the mines do not have requisite approvals but it is a good news after a long time. We have been reeling under severe crisis due to non-availability of good quality ore and higher prices."