“Steel and allied industries facing shortage of iron ore”

Taking into account the acute shortage of iron ore, the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) has recommended to the Supreme Court to consider permitting resumption of operations in all “Category-A” mining leases in Karnataka where mining has been suspended.

The CEC also said the court “may consider permitting resumption of mining in ‘Category-B’ leases subject to the conditions as applicable for resumption of operations in the ‘Category-A’ leases and compliance with certain additional conditions.”

It said: “in compliance with this court’s order dated September 28, 2012, the lessees will be required to pay, if not already done so; compensation for the area under illegal mining pits, illegal overburden dumps, roads, offices etc; undertake to pay the additional compensatory amounts, if held liable; guarantee money for implementation of the Relief and Rehabilitation (R&R) plans and deposit 15% of the sale proceeds of the existing iron ore sold by the monitoring committee.”

Further, the CEC said that before starting mining operations they must implement the R&R plans for the areas found under illegal mining pits, and complete illegal overburden dumps, etc. to the satisfaction of the monitoring committee.

It said: “The CEC / monitoring committee may be authorised to remove and sell through e-auction the sub-grade iron ore available in the existing overburden dumps in and around the lease areas, subject to the condition that such removal and sale is not likely to have significant adverse impact on the existing tree growth/ vegetation and /or stability of the overburden dumps. The monitoring committee may be authorised to retain the entire sale proceeds in respect of the dumps located outside the sanctioned and presently valid lease areas for the purpose of transfer to the Special Purpose Vehicle for the implementation of the Comprehensive Environment Plan for Mining Impact Zone (CEPMIZ).”

The CEC made this recommendation after considering the progress of the lease-wise R&R plans and the inadequate availability of ore for the steel and allied industries.

“In view of the acute shortage with regard to the availability of the iron ore for the steel and allied industry, this court may consider permitting sale of sub grade iron ore from the existing overburden dumps provided (a) the iron ore is of 45% Fe and above and (b) the extraction of sub-grade iron ore will not have significant adverse impact on the stability of overburden dumps and /or the vegetation.”

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