Bellary mines on verge of reaching SC-prescribed cap

Bellary mines on verge of reaching SC-prescribed cap

Bellary, which was in the limelight for all the wrong reasons during the BJP regime, will soon be reaching its mineral resources capping as prescribed by the Supreme Court.

The ‘over-exploitation’ of over 100 mines in the region has left the companies with only three to five MMTs of minerals to mine.

Sources in the Forest department say that the mines are reaching the cap of 25 million metric tonnes (MMTs). Currently, Bellary is said to be touching 22 MMTs and will reach its cap in the next one-two years.

The Forest department has already prepared a detailed report on the exhaustion of the mines in Bellary and is said to be considering alternative arrangements so as not to derail mining in the State.

Sources in the department said that once the cap of 25 MMTs is reached, options will be thrown open before the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) to either extend the mining cap to 30 MMTs, five MMTs more than what is approved by the Supreme Court, or open other parts of Karnataka for mining.

Officials in the Forest department, however, suggest that the CEC may take into account these mining cap extensions only on a case-to-case basis. Further, the CEC may have to file these cases of extending mining caps before the apex court.

It is speculated by the Forest department that the extension of mining caps may be preferred by the CEC, as opposed to opening more locations for mining in the dense forest region of the State. Sources say that with Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur forests already ‘destroyed’, it may ask companies to continue their mining activities and try to increase the forest cover elsewhere.

Meanwhile, undeterred by the obvious concern of exhausting the cap, the CEC has approved six companies to mine in the forests of Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur with strict individual capping on their mining activity. The list was dispatched by the CEC on May 7 to the Forest department, which it received on May 12.

As per the list, the six mining companies are: Marwa Mining Company, K N Srinivasa, S A Tawab, Zeenath Transport (which has been permitted to amalgamate its two mining lease land) and Muneer Enterprises & Mining Syndicate.

The CEC has approved the Rehabilitation and Reclamation of the six companies.

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