The Supreme Court on Friday passed a limited mining ban on odisha, which produces over 50 per cent of the country’s iron ore and manganese, affecting only those who have been operating on deemed renewals for a second time and beyond.The ban affects only 26 companies who were on their second renewal. They will apply for grant of license to the state which will take a call on their applications within six months, a three-judge bench, comprising justices AK Patnaik, SS Nijjar and FMI Kalifullah, said. The state will have to pass reasoned orders on this,the court said. Fourteen leases who are operating after their first renewal will be permitted to continue mining. Another sixteen have already been granted leases by the state. These can also operate too. However, another 102 identified by the central empowered committee, as not working for not having environmental clearances, cannot operate. Another 29 leases which have lapsed or who’s clearances have been rejected will not operate till they get clearances. Odisha seemed to have benefitted from the earlier experience of the court in Karnataka and Goa in which the court banned mining completely only to find that resuming it after clearances takes time. The economic impact seems to weight heavy with the court acknowledging concerns by the steel ministry it would slow down the economy.
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