SC wants land clean-up in Karnataka iron ore case

NEW DELHI Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:19pm IST

A view of the Supreme Court building is seen in New Delhi December 7, 2010. REUTERS/B Mathur/Files

A view of the Supreme Court building is seen in New Delhi December 7, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/B Mathur/Files

Stocks

   

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Supreme Court has asked companies in Karnataka to push on with land clean-up before it removes a mining ban and set April 20 as the next date for reviewing progress, Justice S.H. Kapadia said on Friday.

His decision leaves state-run NMDC (NMDC.NS) as the only company able to mine in the southern state, which used to account for about 15 percent of India's annual production and contribute about 25 percent of exports.

India used to export half its iron ore output -- about 100 million tonnes a year -- making it the third-largest exporter in the world. But its overseas sales have slumped as New Delhi and state governments clamp down on illegal mining.

In 2011, the Supreme Court banned iron ore mining in three districts of Karnataka citing environmental concerns, and asked a federal government body to carry out an environmental impact assessment.

It later allowed NMDC to mine up to one million tonnes per month from its captive mines in the state, but other players remain unable to produce.

It has deferred a decision on lifting the remaining ban several times.

The top court told mining companies to push ahead with land reclamation and repair, saying the environment in the three districts needed to be improved before the ban could be lifted, said Dhiraj Kumar, one of the lawyers who represent Mineral Enterprise Ltd, one of the miners appealing the ban.

The court has yet to approve other recommendations made by the government body assessing environmental impact and wants a discussion again on April 20.

An industry body official said removal of the ban could still take at least three months.

"It's a Herculean task... Once (the clean-up) plan is implemented they (the Supreme Court) may allow them to open mines," said Basant Poddar, vice-chairman of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI).

He said it would take at least 1-2 years for normal mining to return.

While iron ore mining remains partially banned in Karnataka, exports of the steel-making material have yet to resume from the state, despite removal of a ban on movement of the commodity by the Supreme Court last year.

The Karnataka government had imposed that ban in July 2010.

The Indian government is against any ban on iron ore exports to curb illegal mining and prefers to encourage supplies to go first to domestic users like JSW Steel (JSTL.NS).

(Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty and Siddesh Mayenkar; Editing by Jo Winterbottom)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Coal Reforms

Coal Reforms

Factbox - India pushes ahead with coal reforms  Full Article 

Apple Result

Apple Result

Apple's iPhone sales beat Street but iPad volumes slide  Full Article 

Airport Accident

Airport Accident

Total CEO de Margerie killed in Moscow plane accident - airport spokeswoman.  Full Article 

Nadella's Paycheck

Nadella's Paycheck

New Microsoft CEO Nadella's pay tops $80 mln with big stock awards.  Full Article 

Deregulation Impact

Deregulation Impact

Private fuel retailers to dip toe, not dive back, into India  Full Article 

JLR China

JLR China

JLR sees 20 percent growth in China sales this year - exec  Full Article 

An RBI First

An RBI First

RBI releases minutes of financial stability council's Aug meet  Full Article 

IBM Earnings

IBM Earnings

IBM ditches 2015 operating EPS target, shares slump 7 pct  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage