The iron ore-starved steel industry in and around Karnataka might have to wait longer to for the smooth supply of key raw material for its blast furnaces as the opening of Category B mines, which contain larger deposits, is getting delayed.

The delay is due to non-fulfilment of certain conditions imposed on these mines by the Supreme Court. The Court is likely to hear the appeal for opening of Category B mines at the next hearing on January 8, 2013, industry sources said. The Supreme Court (SC) appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) has approved the reclamation and rehabilitation (R&R) Plans of 23 mines under Category B in Karnataka. These mines, which can together produce over six million tonnes of iron ore per annum, are presently awaiting the apex court’s nod to resume mining.