Home ECONOMY Decks cleared for reopening of 26 closed Odisha mines

Decks cleared for reopening of 26 closed Odisha mines

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 18:

The Odisha government today issued orders to leaseholders of 26 closed mines in the state asking them to execute supplementary lease deeds with the state government within three months to operate these mines, Steel & Mines secretary Raj Kumar Sharma informed here today.

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“The government has issued orders to the 26 mines for lease extension following the recommendations made by an inter-departmental panel and approval of the chief minister. The miners have been asked to execute their lease deeds within three months for operation of their mines,” said Odisha steel and mines secretary R.K. Sharma.

However, the government has asked the lessees to comply with some conditions. All the miners have to furnish forest clearance and mining plan before the execution of the lease deeds, said Sharma.

Besides, they will have to comply with the Supreme Court order to be pronounced in the final disposal of the cases relating to these mines.

Further, the lessees have to act in compliance with the relevant order of the Odisha High Court in cases pertaining to the 26 mines. The court had directed the government to extend the operations of these leases before April 27.

The renewal of operations of these mines, which includes 22 iron and manganese ore mines, can add up to 32 million tonnes of iron ore output.

The court ordered closure of 26 mines in the state which were operating under the deemed lease extension clause of the Mineral Concession Rules (MCR), 1960.

Later, the government issued orders for eight mines to operate in the state. Of the mines operating under express order, lease deeds have been executed for three mines belonging to SAIL and one belonging to OMC has been given an extension.

Now, the remaining 18 iron and manganese mines and other four mines of limestone and dolomite would be operational after the execution of lease deeds, said Sharma.

Several mine owners, including Tata Steel, KJS Ahluwalia, Mid East Integrated Steel Ltd, Kaypee Enterprises, Kalinga Mining Corporation and KN Ram Ltd., would benefit from the government decision.

As per the amended MMDR Act, while eight captive mines – including seven from Tata – would continue their operation till 2030, other 18 non-captive mines would continue operation till 2020.

At its meeting on April 4, the inter-departmental committee on mining had recommended to the state government extension of the lease period of 26 closed mines in the state, which had not violated lease terms.  The committee had recommended reopening of these 26 closed mines in accordance with the provisions of the amended MMDR ACT 2015.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had on Friday given his approval to the recommendations of the inter-departmental committee meeting chaired by Development Commissioner UN Behera.

Informing on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik giving his approval to the recommendations of the inter-departmental committee yesterday Minister Steel & Mines Prafulla Mallick had said: “Under the provisions of the new Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015 captive mines will get renewal for 15 years and non-captive mines will get renewal for five years. Lease holders can reopen mines after furnishing requisite documents and registration.”

(With inputs from IANS)