Indian state set to reopen 18 mines closed by Supreme Court

15 June 2014 (Last Updated June 15th, 2014 18:30)

The mining department of Odisha state, India, has set a timeline to restart operations at 18 mines that were closed by the Supreme Court for not renewing their extraction leases.

The mining department of Odisha state, India, has set a timeline to restart operations at 18 mines that were closed by the Supreme Court for not renewing their extraction leases.

The court order came on 16 May, when it found that 26 mines had not renewed their extraction leases in the state. The court immediately halted operations and ordered the mines to renew their leases within six months.

"Once the order is issued, the lessee has to obtain pending regulatory approvals and clearances, if any, within three months."

In June, the Odisha Government received new mining leases for eight iron ore mines; three of Steel Authority of India (SAIL), four of Tata Steel and one of state-owned Odisha Mining, following which operations were resumed.

The government aims to restart the remaining mines as soon as possible.

Odisha mines department official was quoted by Business Standard as saying that the department will issue orders to resume operations at the final 18 mines by the end of July.

"Once the order is issued, the lessee has to obtain pending regulatory approvals and clearances, if any, within three months," an official said.

"Apart from statutory clearances, the lessees have to achieve complete diversion of forest land and pay net present values (NPV) dues in lieu of forest land diverted for mining activity."

The temporary halt is expected to cause a 25% shortage of iron ore supply in June.

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