SC suspends 19 mining leases in Karnataka

SC suspends 19 mining leases in Karnataka

New Delhi: In a firm response to the scourge of illegal mining in Karnataka, the Supreme Court on Friday suspended mining and transportation of already mined iron ore in 19 leases in Southern state’s Bellary-Hospet region.

The court passed the interim order on the basis of the Central Empowered Committee’s report of 15 April, which revealed large-scale violations and the persistence of illegal mining in the state.

Four of the companies whose leases have been suspended are SB Minerals, Munir Enterprises/Minerals, Trident Minerals and Veeyam Pvt Ltd.

"We make it clear that there shall be no mining or transportation of already mined mineral," ruled the apex court’s forest bench comprising Chief Justice S. H. Kapadia and justices Aftab Alam and K. S. Radhakrishnan.

The mining industry in the state had recently got a reprieve from the Supreme Court after it lifted the 9-month ban on the transport and export of iron ore from 20 April, which was imposed by the state government.

The court is considering suspending a further 68 leases which have been named in the CEC report and the 2008 Lokayukta report. But some of these lease holder have obtained an order from the Karnataka high court which allows them to continue mining, said the state’s law officer to the Supreme Court.

CECs’s counsel and amicus curiae A. D. N Rao said he would file appeals or have the cases transferred to the apex court’s forest bench from Bangalore.

This would enable the court to suspend those leases as well, a move it intends to take. The bench observed that it would place interim orders preventing mining in all the areas that have been identified in the CEC report.