The KIOCL (Kudremukh Iron Ore Company Ltd), a CPSE under the Steel Ministry and a premiere iron-ore exporting unit, has written to the Ministry seeking its intervention to resolve issues with the Karnataka State government so that mining operations can start at the Devadari Iron Ore mines there.

The mine is located in the Sandur Taluk of the Ballari district of Karnataka. KIOCL has plans to produce around 3 lakh tonnes per annum around 2024-25.

The CPSE intends to enter the forest land to start operations at the mines and has accordingly sought help from the Steel Ministry to facilitating the processes by taking it up with the Karnataka Forest Department.

Regularisation of forest land

Regularisation of forest land to increase height of a dam is also another issue that has been raised by the miner.

The KIOCL obtained statutory clearances, such as mining plan from Indian Bureau of Mines in March, 2018, environment and forest clearances from MoEF&CC in August, 2021, and December, 2022, respectively; and a consent for establishment from Karnataka State Pollution Control Board in July, 2022, for Devadari Iron Ore Mine. A mining lease was executed with Director, Mines and Geology of the Karnataka government in January, 2023, for 388 hectares area for a period of 50 years for iron ore and manganese ore mining.

Incidentally, the agreements were entered into when the BJP government was in power in the State, and as per officials in the know, things have not moved there since a change of power later in May.

As per a document, shared with the Ministry by KIOCL, and accessed by businessline, regularisation has been sought for usage of 54 hectares of forest land for laying of slurry pipeline; and another 350-odd hectares will be submerged post raising the height of a dam in the area (Lakya Dam), apart for waiver of penalty and so on.

Documents available with the Ministry state that the mine lease area of Devadari, available with KIOCL, is around 4,605 hectares. Of this 3,203 hectares is forest land taken over by the state forest department, 1220 hectares are revenue land taken over by the revenue department, 67 hectares is government land and another 114-115 hectares belong to KIOCL — that the company is in possession of.

“The iron ore miner has sought help from the Ministry in convening CEC meeting with all concerned to decide on the issue of handing over the land and modalities with retaining some portion of infrastructure for maintenance of Lakya Dam and pipeline,” an official said.

Permit fees

The company is also seeking waiver of permit fees for transporting iron ore, charged by the Forest Department of the Karnataka government.

In a letter to the Ministry, KIOCL said that it is also seeking appointment with senior bureaucrats in the Ministry to present its case.