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Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint

Vedanta moves Supreme Court against Karnataka notification

The notification requires e-auction bidders for iron and manganese ores in Karnataka to pay a fee towards environmental protection

New Delhi: Vedanta Ltd moved the Supreme Court on Monday against a Karnataka government notification requiring e-auction bidders for iron and manganese ores in the state to pay a fee towards environmental protection.

Vedanta contended that the fee payable as per earlier orders of the apex court is by the buyer of the ores once the auction is completed.

A special bench, which is hearing mining cases related to Karnataka, comprising justices Ranjan Gogoi, Arun Mishra and Prafulla C. Pant will hear the Vedanta petition.

In April 2013, the court had ordered that all sales of iron and manganese ores in Karnataka should be conducted only through e-auctions that will be monitored and overseen by the Central Empowerment Committee (CEC).

It also ordered several measures to prevent environmental damage due to mining. The court’s ruling came in a 2003 case filed by non-profit Samaj Parivartana Samudaya against large-scale depletion of forests in Karnataka due to illegal mining.

The court also ordered mining lease holders to pay 10% of their sale proceeds to a special fund established by the court.

Since then, the government has established a District Mineral Foundation and National Mineral Exploration Trust through an amendment to the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act. The law requires lease holders to pay 15% of the royalty to these funds.

“It is obvious that the contribution can be computed only after the sale price is known. In the case of an e-auction the sale price will obviously be known only on the conclusion of the e-auction," said the Vedanta petition, a copy of which Mint has reviewed.

The court did not specify the next date of hearing.

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