State to resume iron ore auction in October

Mining activities in Karnataka are set to restart with the State government preparing for the auctioning of 15 iron ore mines in October.

“The bidding documents are being prepared. The auctioning will start in October,” an official from the Karnataka government told Deccan Herald here.

Of the 15 mines, 13 are in Ballari and two in Chitradurga district, the official said adding that the details of iron ore deposits available in these mines would be disclosed in the bidding documents.

As per the Supreme Court order, all existing statutory clearances of these 15 mines – forest, environment and pollution control board – will be transferred to new leaseholders. Though these 15 iron ore mines (also called ‘C’ category mines) were earlier in operation, the Supreme Court had cancelled mining after allegations of gross violations in the excavation of ore. Subsequently, the court gave its green signal to the Karnataka government to reallocate the mines.

As per the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, auctioning is mandatory for all major minerals such as iron ore, bauxite and limestone.

The State government hopes that the resumption of mining operations will help boost the availability of iron ore for steel industry in the State, which is now dependent on imported ore or ore supplied from Goa or Odisha.

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