Environment Ministry rejects Vedanta's plan to mine Niyamgiri

The Union Environment Ministry has taken a decision in two high profile cases, rejecting the forest clearance for Vedanta’s bauxite mining project in Niyamgiri Hills of Odisha, and renewing the stand-alone environmental clearance for Posco’s eight million tonnes per annum steel plant.

The rejection of Vedanta’s proposal to dig in the Niyamgiri hills came after 12 village councils of Dongriya Kondh tribal groups rejected the project in their traditional forestlands.

The Supreme Court had empowered the village councils to decide on the project in order to protect their customary and religious rights.

The court had asked the Environment Ministry to review its earlier decision to not permit the mining, based on the views of the tribal community.

The renewal of original clearance given to Posco’s steel plant in 2007 by Environment Minister Veerappa Moily, on the other hand, came after the Ministry delinked other components of the integrated project, including the port and the mining parts from its review process.

The Ministry was asked by the National Green Tribunal to review the environment clearance.