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Govt clears the deck to restart 26 coal mines

By Jayajit Dash
Last updated on: April 22, 2015 14:29 IST
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With the state government clearing the decks by extending the lease validity of 26 mines, operations at these mines are set to commence again within a couple of months.

Since all the 26 mine leases have the necessary statutory clearances, there are no hurdles to resume operations, experts felt. "Almost all the mines have the necessary clearances.

They have also cleared the NPV (net present value) dues against diversion of forest land for mining purpose. The consent to operate may have expired in case of a few mines but that will pose any major hurdle.

Following the state government's orders, the miners can comfortably restart operations in a month or two after fulfiling formalities like signing supplementary lease deeds with the government", said a mining industry expert.

He estimated that the state government stands to gain Rs 500 crore by executing supplementary lease deeds for these 26 mines.

Pravakar Rout, vice president, Utkal Chamber of Commerce & Industry (UCCI) and chairman of the chamber's mining panel said, "The state government's orders have cleared all hurdles for the 26 mines.

As the miners have all the statutory clearances they only have to sign lease deeds with the government."

"Considering all factors, mining should restart at these 26 leases in two months time."

The restart of these key mines that includes 22 iron and manganese ore mines could add up to around 40 million tonne of iron ore output.

Besides the 22 iron and manganese ore leases, the rest are dolomite and limestone mines.

Last week, the state steel & mines department issued orders for extending the lease validity of 26 mines, including eight captive and the remaining 18 non-captive leases.

The reopening of these mines is subject to certain conditions stipulated by the state government.

The government has allowed three months' time to the lessees to execute supplementary lease deeds.

Additionally, they have to obtain all clearances and pay NPV dues to commence operations. All such lessees have to comply with the Supreme Court order to be pronounced in the final disposal of the cases relating to these mines as well as pending orders on recommendations of the MB Shah Commission of enquiry and the central empowered committee (CEC) on illegal mining in the state.

Further, the lessees have to act in compliance with the relevant order of the Odisha High Court (HC) in cases pertaining to the 26 mines.

The HC had directed the state government to extend the operations of these leases on or before April 27.

The next hearing on the case is scheduled on April 29.

Six iron and manganese ore mines of Tata Steel - Khandabandh, Manmora, Tiringa Pahad, Katamati, Joda West, Joda East and Bamebari are poised to restart operations.

Leases of other miners- Aryan Mining & Trading Corporation Pvt Ltd, Bonai Industrial Company Ltd, Rungta Mines, Fee-grade & Company Ltd, Orissa Manganese & Minerals Ltd, KJS Ahluwalia, Kaypee Enterprises, Kalinga Mining Corporation, KN Ram & Company, Vivek Lall and Bargarh Cements have also been extended.

The 22 iron and manganese ore mines are amongst 26 mines that faced shutdown after an interim order of the Supreme Court in May last year.

Due to the temporary closure of these mines, iron ore production in Odisha shrank 39 per cent to 47.35 million tonne in 2014-15 from 77.84 million tonne in the year-ago fiscal.

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Jayajit Dash
Source: source