Bellary Steels gets nod to mine ore in Sandur taluk

Bellary Steels gets nod to mine ore in Sandur taluk

Bellary Steels gets nod to mine ore in Sandur taluk

The Central Empowered Committee (CEC) has begun clearing fresh mining projects in Karnataka.

One such project is Bellary Steels and Alloys Ltd (BSAL), which has got the forest department clearance to mine iron ore in Sandur taluk in Bellary district. The forest department, in its order on May 15, accorded permission to BSAL to mine in 39.70 hectare of forest land in Jaisinghpura village of Sandur taluk for a period of 20 years.

This period will be co-terminus with the mining lease granted under the  Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act of 1957.

BSAL, which is a wholly owned company of Sesa Goa Ltd, an arm of Vedanta Group, has received conditional clearance from the State Forest department based on the CEC recommendations.

Accordingly, a 36-point condition has been put on BSAL for mining in 39.70 hectares of forest land.

As per the conditions, the CEC and the Forest department have set guidelines for Reclamation and Rehabilitation (R&R) which BSAL has been asked to follow.

BSAL has been asked to adhere to the compensatory afforestation programme by planting trees in 39.70 hectares of land in survey number 74 of Yerbanahalli village in Sandur taluk.

Further, to demarcate the said land and ensure mining does not take place beyond the boundaries of approved lease  land, BSAL has been asked to erect cement concrete pillars duly numbered at a distance of 20 metres from each other.

Directions have been issued to the State government by CEC to maintain 7.5 metres of safety zone around the entire boundary of mining land.

It has asked the CEC to ‘raise and maintain’ the plantation over the area, one and half times the extent of safety zone in degraded forest land elsewhere, at the project cost.

The conditions state that the forest department/director of mines and geology/ IBM shall be submitted the R&R plans before embarking upon the mining activity.

The conditions have allowed the forest department to conduct review of leased land on 5th, 10th, 15th and 19th year of the lease, and if found unsatisfactory, then it has been accorded permission to revoke the mining licence under the Forest (Conversation) Act 1980.

BSAL had applied for mining lease in 2006, subsequent to which it was taken over by Sesa Goa in 2011 at a reported cost of Rs 220 crore.

In July 2013, the final approval was given by the government of India to divert the said forest land. It was later inspected by the CEC and gave its approval to the State for allowing mining under the conditions laid down by it.

Sources said the CEC is now taking up mining permissions on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with Supreme Court directives on mining in the State. It is expected that more mining leases will be granted in the coming months.

Sesa Goa may be allowed to resume mining

In a separate development, the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) is all set to allow Sesa Goa Ltd to resume mining in Nirthadi forests of Chitradurga. State Forest department officials state that the Central government has given its in-principle (Stage I) approval to resume mining in 164 hectares of land in Chitradurga.

The mining operations can be resumed provided the company submits its R&R plans to the CEC and the Forest Department. It is likely to take not more than a few days, say top officials in the department. The Chitradurga mining activity was under the CEC scanner after Sesa Goa was classified under Category B of the CEC mines classification.