National Aluminium Co Ltd has filed an application to the Environment Bench of the Supreme Court for condoning a delay in its mine lease renewal proceedings. The Forest Advisory Committee of the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has made Nalco file a waiver application before the Bench of the apex court.

The committee this week gave temporary permission for restart of operations at its bauxite mine in Odisha, subject to the Green Bench’s waiver. According to the relevant Supreme Court guidelines, such lease renewal applications are required to be filed 24 months before of expiry of the lease. In 2010, Nalco had filed an application but was 22 months before the expiry. This delay needs to be condoned by the Green Bench of the Supreme Court, which has single weekly session on a working Friday. According to sources, the Bench may take up the application for deliberation.

Pending renewal of mining lease of its Panchpatmali bauxite mine, Nalco had also filed application for one-year temporary work permit. The committee’s conditional permit did not automatically allow resumption of operation at its only mine in Odisha, sources pointed out.

Nalco’s mining lease of 30 years expired on November 16 and since then the operations at the mine in Koraput district have been suspended by the company. In case the Apex Court Bench condones the violation of its guidelines, the mining operations may resume sometime next week. According to observers, the resumption could, however, be delayed if the Bench does not hear it on Friday.

(This article was published on December 6, 2012)
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