India’s Orissa State Government has ordered 69 manganese ore, iron ore and limestone mines to be suspended after not being able to prove they are licenced.

In October, the mines were requested to submit environmental clearances and approvals received from the Indian Bureau of Mines.

Orissa’s director of mines Jyoti Ranjan Patnaik told Reuters that since the mines did not submit the documents they were ordered to halt operations.

All 600 mines in Orissa will undergo inspection in phases, Patnaik said.

Since July this year Orissa has commenced a crackdown on mines after allegations that some mines were functioning without licences.

Iron ore exporters said the inspections made mine owners more careful, with many scaling down operations, triggering a decrease in supplies just as demand from China was increasing.