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Vedanta says it won’t mine Niyamgiri without local tribals’ nod

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, may 9 :

Even though the loaal tribal people unanimously rejected the proposed mining of bauxite in Niyamgiri hills in Odisha by Vedanta in as many as 12 gram sabhas, the company on Friday announced that it will not look at mining bauxite from the hills to feed its Lanjigarh alumina refinery until it gets the approval of the local community, international news agency Alliance News reported from London.Vedanta_Lanjigarh_Refinery_Sept_3-400x275

“The Indian multi-commodities company made the announcement in response to a verdict in January from India’s Ministry of Environment and Forest, which turned down Vedanta’s mining proposal on site after a local villagers meeting expressed opposition to mining the region on social, cultural and religious grounds”, the Alliance News report said.

The news agency quoted Vedanta as saying, “In deference to the sentiments of the community, Vedanta confirms it is not seeking to source bauxite from the Niyamgiri bauxite deposit for its alumina refinery operations and will not do so until we have the consent of the local communities.”

Vedanta also said, according to the terms of an MoU with the Odisha government, which had assured it of the supply of 150 million tonnes of bauxite for its Lanjigarh refinery, is now working to find alternative sources for its long-term bauxite security.

Vedanta has stated that it follow the guidelines for sustainable development in all its operations, and will continue to work closely for community development in and around the refinery location, the Alliance News reported.

Reacting to the report, a Bhawanipatna-based activist told OST over phone, “It is clear from the Vedanta statement that it is still harbouring hopes of exploring the bauxite deposit atop the Niyamgiri hill despite a thundering ‘no’ to the idea by the Dongaria Kondhs and other tribal groups who inhabit the area and consider the hill as ‘sacrosanct’. The company is trying to do everything possible to brainwash the local people into accepting its mining project but it should give up the idea because that will never happen.”

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