The Straits Times
Published on Sep 03, 2012

India's top court lifts ban on 18 iron ore mines


NEW DELHI (REUTERS) - India's top court has allowed 18 mines to resume iron ore mining in Karnataka state, the country's second-largest supplier, after a suspension of over a year on environment concerns, Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai said on Monday.

India used to produce about 200 million tonnes a year of iron ore and exported about half of that, but clamp downs on illegal mining and New Delhi's desire to keep supplies for domestic steel mills have slashed that figure.

The output from the re-started mines will be in addition to state-run NMDC's 1 million tonnes per month, which was cleared by the Supreme Court for production from Aug 6, 2011.

The Supreme Court last year had also banned iron ore mining in Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts of Karnataka citing environmental violations, and asked a federal government body to carry out an environmental impact assessment.