New Delhi: The Supreme Court of India (SC) on Friday finally gave approval for Sterlite Industries (India) Ltd and Posco-India Pvt. Ltd to start projects delayed over protests and land disputes in Orissa.
Sterlite Industries, an associate of London-based Vedanta Resources Plc., got the go-ahead for a bauxite mining project, Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said in his order. The court bench hearing the case also allowed Posco to build a steel plant in the state.
The court also allowed Posco-India, the local unit of the South Korean steel maker, to buy iron ore from the market for its factory, in addition to procuring the material from Orissa Mining Corp. Ltd, which owns all the mines in the state. The bench separated the issues of setting up the plant and procurement, said Janakalyan Das, Orissa’s counsel.
“This is a vital clearance,” Posco-India general manager Avinash Tiwari said. “We continue to remain keen on the project and will now expedite our process for land acquisition.”
In November last year, the apex court had said it would clear Sterlite’s project in Kalahandi district if it agrees to set aside 5% of net profit from mining activities, or Rs10 crore, whichever is higher, for tribal development in the area.
The SC bench on Friday gave the central empowered committee, a court-constituted advisory body in the case, the liberty to approach the court at the end of the year if the calculation of Sterlite’s profit needed a review.
Posco-India had earlier proposed to invest Rs51,000 crore for its mega steel plant in Jagatsinghpur district in Orissa. While approving Posco’s steel plant and minor port, the court gave four weeks to the Orissa government to decide on granting Posco a prospecting licence for mining in the area.
Bloomberg contributed to this story.