'Export ban won't curb mining'

'Export ban won't curb mining'

Union Ministry of Mines submits affidavit before the High Court

In an affidavit filed before the Court, UMM has said that the ban on issuing mineral dispatch permits for transportation of iron ore exports may not be the ideal measure to curb illegal mining. However it has stated that the State has the power to curb illegal mining under the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act (MMDR), 1957 by framing rules, the centre said.

The objections filed in connection with a batch of writ petitions challenging the State Government order on ban of export on iron ore also mentioned the provisions made to empower the State under MMDR Act as well as the directions issued to check the illegal mining.

Mentioning that there is no restrictions in the MMDR Act, on the use of ore, unless the State Government has specifically imposed any such conditions under Rule 27 (3) of Mineral Concession Rules 1960, after obtaining the approval from the Union Government, the submission said “It is clear that policy and legislation do not at present make any provision for any kind of restrictions on export of ore on any particular mineral, but legislation provides imposition of restriction under Mineral Conservation Rules in an individual mining lease", the Union Ministry contended. Stating that the National Mineral Policy-2008 recognises that minerals continue to be an important source of foreign exchange earnings, the policy of export shall keep in view the dynamics of mineral inventories, the short and long term needs of the country.

The UMM said that the State can frame rules to prevent illegal mining under Section 23 (C) of MMDR Act. “It should be contemplated under MMDR Act, whether the ban order is linked to the said rules. For this reason, the central government cannot comment on whether the ban order is in terms of the MMDR Act,” said the objections.

The ministry of mines has also stated that it had written to the State to co-relate the production of minerals with the transportation permits issued and the ore finally exported, in order to detect illegally mined material.  Suggestions to set up task a force and flying squad both at state-level and district-level to curb the illegal mining has also been mentioned in the submission.

The State government, according to the submission, is authorised to take actions against illegal mine owners under the provisions mentioned in the ban order. When the matter came up for hearing before the division bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice Abdul Nazir, RL Narasimhamurthy, senior counsel and former Advocate General submitted that the State has no legislative competence to curb illegal mining and such power vests with the Union Government.

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