Three resolutions of the Odisha government to impose unprecedented curbs on mining activity and triggering a legal tussle between the government and the mine lessees have come across a central government wall.

The ministry of mines has asked it to scrap all the three resolutions, saying they breach mining laws. Through these resolutions, the state steel and mines department sought to achieve a three-pronged objective. One, reserving all the remaining mineral-bearing areas (not leased to any private entity) in favour of its company, the Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC). Two, making it mandatory for standalone iron ore miners to sell at least half their output to state-based industries. Three, restricting the area of a private lease at the time of renewal.

The Odisha government has allowed miners working under special conditions after expiry of lease validity to sell iron ore raised before October 2012 in the open market, which traders say would boost supply by around 10 million tonnes (mt).

"The lifting of the restriction would enable miners to sell iron ore and fines stacked since October, which would be somewhere between nine and 10 mt. It’s a welcome step and will boost ore availability for steel makers,” said Prabodh Mohanty, a spokesperson for the East Zone Miners' Association.

New Delhi: Says state didn’t comply with SC order on grant of iron ore

Bhushan Power & Steel (BPSL) has asked the Supreme Court to initiate contempt proceedings against the Orissa government for failing to comply with the apex court’s order that asked it to recommend BPSL’s case for grant of iron ore reserves to the Central government. The compamy needed the iron ore reserves for the company’s 2.8- million-tonne integrated steel plant at Lapanga.

Aiming to expedite disposal of applications for renewal of mining leases, the steel & mines department has rejected 135 such applications of a total of 323 applicants.

“We have already rejected 135 applications for mine lease renewal. These applications did not merit renewal as they lacked the necessary statutory clearances. The department is making all efforts to dispose off pending applications in accordance with the directive of the Odisha High Court,” said an official source.

The authority, while hearing over the plea filed by merchant miners on Wednesday, said, it will soon issue the written stay order

The Revision Authority, set up under the Union mines ministry, has stayed the enforcement of a resolution of the state government that had barred merchant miners to produce minerals during their lease renewal period. The authority, while hearing over the plea filed by merchant miners on Wednesday, said, it will soon issue the written stay order.

ON 26 NOVEMBER, a CBI court rejected the bail plea of mining baron and former Karnataka minister Gali Janardhan Reddy for the sixth time since his arrest in September last year.

The Odisha High Court on Friday asked the state government to dispose of all the pending applications for renewal of mining leases which are in order within three months.

The division bench of the Odisha High Court headed by Chief Justice VG Gowda on Wednesday issued notices to the central and state governments and asked authorities concerned not to put into effect

ML Rungta, Rungta Mines, Indrani Patnaik and Serajuddin among offenders

The vigilance department in Odisha has initiated cases against mine owners in connection with illegal mining. The miners against whom cases have been lodged include ML Rungta (Silijora-Kalamati iron ore & manganse mines), Rungta Mines Ltd (Jajang iron ore & manganese mines), Indrani Patnaik (Unchabali iron ore & manganese mines) and Sirajuddin & Company (iron ore mines). All these mine owners have their leases under Joda circle in Keonjhar district, minister for steel & mines Rajani Kant Singh informed the state assembly in a written reply.

The Orissa High Court has stopped operations by those mines that are operating on deemed renewal. The court has directed not to operate mines on deemed renewal without its permission.

A division Bench comprising chief justice V Gopal Gowda and justice BN Mohapatra, while admitting a PIL, has directed not to operate mines on deemed renewal without its permission till the disposal of the case.