Home ECONOMY Odisha govt allows reopening of 3 more closed mines

Odisha govt allows reopening of 3 more closed mines

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 2:

The Odisha government today decided to allow the reopening of three more closed mines after they sign fresh lease deeds.

iron ore mining 1The decision of the government was taken on the basis of the recommendations of the inter-departmental committee on mines headed by the development commissioner, Steel and Mines minister Prafulla Mallik said.

“The steel and mines department has asked the lease holders to sign fresh lease deeds before resuming operations,” Mallick said.

The three mines are among the 11  non-captive mines which have sought permission to resume operations after being closed for absence of lease extension. Two of the mines are in mineral-rich Keonjhar district while the third is in Sundergarh district.

It may be mentioned that the state government had approved the recommendation of the inter-departmental committee on mines headed by Development Commissioner UN Behera for reopening of 26 closed mines under the new Mines and Minerals Development & Regulation (MMDR) Amendment Act, 2015, on April 16.

The MMDR Act, 2015, has allowed extension of lease period by five years for the non-captive mines, and the three new mines will be able to operate for another five years, an official at the steel and mines department clarified.

The Supreme Court on May 16 last year had asked the state government to stop operation in the 26 mines, which were waiting for second and subsequent renewal while terming the automatic renewal of mining lease after 20 years of first renewal as illegal.

The government’s decision to allow reopening of 26 mines in the first phase and three today is significant as Odisha’s iron ore production dropped about 40 per cent in 2014-15.
The Supreme Court, in a judgment last year, had directed the state government to stop operation of the mines whose lease periods had expired.