The State Cabinet on Thursday decided to seek clarification from the Supreme Court on auctioning of mining leases for ‘Category C’ mines.

The government, in September, this year, had issued notification cancelling 53 iron ore mining leases under Category C in Bellary, Tumkur and Chitradurga districts as per the directive from the Supreme Court.

The apex court, in its April 18 order, had directed the State government to cancel the mining leases of these mines as they had engaged in large-scale illegal mining, and ordered auctioning them to end users, such as steel mills.

Clarity on end user

Briefing presspersons after the Cabinet meeting, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra clarified that there has been no change in Karnataka’s stand as far as cancelling 53 iron more mining leases under Category C was concerned, but they need clarification as the Supreme Court had stated that leases may be granted in a transparent manner to highest bidder among the end users.

“The State wants to know from the apex court the meaning of the word ‘end users’ and also area of mining to be allowed in the State,” he said.

The government will work out details only after seeking clarification from the court. However, the iron ore from Category C mines will be only for ‘captive use’ and there will be no sale or export of iron ore,” he said.

Quota of iron ore

The Central Empowered Committee (CEC) had fixed the quota of iron ore for Karnataka at 30 lakh tonnes, but the actual demand is around 40 lakh tonnes.

“We will request the SC to increase the State’s quota, following the huge demand from steel industries,” he added.

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