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Karnataka seeks to produce 10 mt additional iron ore

The Karnataka Government has filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court seeking 10 million tonnes a year additional iron ore production.

“The State has been getting lot of requests for setting up iron ore benefaction units and also to encourage small and medium industries, we have sought apex court's permission for additional 10 million tonne per annum production,” said the Karnataka Chief Secretary, Mr S.V. Ranganath.

“If this is allowed, then we have will have a total of 40 million tonne per annum production in the state. We hope to get clearances soon,” he added.

The Supreme Court, based on the recommendation of the Central Empowered Committee, to check illegal milling, had capped iron ore mining in the state at 30 million tonne a year.

Bellary district was fixed at 25 million tonnes, whereas for other districts such as Chitradurga and Tumkur, a ceiling of 5 million tonnes had been imposed.

Mr Ranganath said “Currently only four ‘A category' mining companies are permitted to supply ore. In a few months from now, 20 more companies which are in final stage of implementing reclamation and rehabilitation (R&R) plan will go on stream.”

According to the Central Empowered Committee classification, ‘A category' mining companies are working leases where there is marginal illegality. There are 21 such leases in the state.

Under this category of mining, the companies are National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC), Mineral Enterprises Limited, Veerabhadrappa Sangappa and Company (Vesco) and two leases of state-owned Mysore Minerals Limited.

“For time being, this quantity is sufficient to fulfil the state's needs. There are 20 mining leases of 50 hectares and above in category A. The restarting a few of these will make available around 10 million tonnes,” he added.

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