Society of Geoscientists and Allied Technologist (SGAT), a pro-mining advocacy group, here on Thursday batted for resumption of operation in all mines, which were closed as per the orders of the Supreme Court.
“Out of 26 iron and manganese mines closed on the orders of the apex court, eight mines have resumed operations following express orders issued by the State government granting renewal in terms of section 8 (3) of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation Act, 1957. It is urgently necessary that the State government grant renewal in respect of the remaining 18 leases forthwith, as all such leases have necessary statutory clearances,” said B. K. Mohanty, advisor to SGAT, said, addressing a press conference here.
On May 16 last, the apex court ordered closure of 26 mines of Odisha, observing that the automatic renewal of mines lease after 20 years of first renewal was illegal.
However, the court had asked to the State government to the expedite process of renewal.
The government recently allowed resumption in mining operation of public sector SAIL and Odisha Mining Corporation and domestic steel behemoth - Tata Steel.
“The standalone mining is also essential for supporting and sustaining standalone plants that do not have any captive mine. The government should positively consider these cases,” said Mr. Mohanty.
The SGAT was of the view that entire focus of standalone mines was on conserving and developing minerals, not only by exploiting the lowest possible grade from the mines but also in producing tailor-made ore even from the lowest grade ore through beneficiation and palletisation to cater to the requirement of different steel producers.
As the industry needs to be fed with raw material, there was an urgent need of opening of closed mines.
“Public Sector OMC cannot shoulder the responsibility of supplying mineral alone. It has 35 mines under its wing, but only five of them are in operation. It indicates importance of other players in mining sector to harness mineral in the State,” Mr. Mohanty pointed out.
It needs to be mentioned that Justice M. B. Shah Commission of Inquiry, which was probing into irregularities in mining sector in Odisha, had found that a majority (nearly 80 per cent) of mines were operating illegally without requisite clearances. The irregularities in mining sector had been going on with the complicity of miners, officials and politicians.
In Odisha there are around 600 mining leases, out of which 125 are in operation. According to SGAT, as many as 13,790 mineral concession applications such as reconnaissance permit are pending with the government.
On May 16, Supreme Court had ordered closure of 26 mines
“Public Sector OMC cannot shoulder responsibility of supplying mineral”