Centre opposes before SC plea for iron pellet exports

Centre opposes before SC plea for iron pellet exports

The Union government has opposed before the Supreme Court a plea made by the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries (FIMI - southern chapter) for permission to export pellets produced in Karnataka’s Ballari, Chitradurga and Tumakuru districts.

On Wednesday, a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Abhay Manohar Sapre and Navin Singh allowed the industry body to file a rejoinder to the submission made by the Ministry of Steel.

The court also granted two weeks’ time to NGO Samaja Parivarthana Samudaya, which has filed the PIL, to give its response on the issue.

The FIMI, South, in its application, has claimed the ban on export of pellets manufactured from iron ore purchased in Karnataka was leading to an aberrant situation where pellet manufacturers are forced to source iron ore from outside the state.

The pellets are unique products made out of iron ore fines and are completely different from the ore.

The Steel Ministry maintained that the option of export of pellets can be considered only after meeting the domestic demand, which is already very high.

In a related development, the top court on Wednesday allowed the public sector undertaking NMDC to undertake mining activity in 13.2 hectares of tailing pond in its lease area, subject to statutory clearances.

The court asked a lease holder to wait on its plea for determination of renewal of licence for mining of iron ore in Ballari, abutting the boundary with Andhra Pradesh, as a separate bench was considering the issue.

Advocate A D N Rao, representing the Central Empowered Committee, submitted that the issue of demarcating the boundary between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh could be resolved possibly within a month or so as the ground works were being undertaken after a report by the Surveyor General of India.