Apex court allows export of iron ore piled up at Karnataka ports

| Updated on: Feb 11, 2011

The Supreme Court on Friday allowed the export of iron ore that has accumulated at major ports in Karnataka due to a ban imposed by the State Government in July last year to curb illegal mining.

Directing the State to allow export of accumulated ore at major ports, the Supreme Court asked the Karnataka Government to notify a new law to check illegal mining in the State by March 31. The apex court will take up the next hearing on April 4.

Industry sources estimate that about 2.3 lakh tonnes of iron ore has accumulated at the New Mangalore Port since the ban came into effect. The Supreme Court's interim order on Friday does not mean much for the industry at large because of the restriction on movement of iron ore continues till the Government comes out with new rules, said sources at the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries.

Exporters such as Mineral Enterprises Ltd, which had some 68,000 tonnes of iron ore lying at a major port, will stand to benefit from the Supreme Court order.

Karnataka, the second largest producer, accounts for a third of the country's iron ore exports. The State Government had imposed a ban on exports of iron ore from the 10 minor ports in the State as part of its efforts to curb illegal mining. Friday's direction by the apex court is in response to an appeal by the mining companies against the State ban on exports and issue of permits to transport iron ore for exports.

Interim relief

Further, the court said that mining firms can seek interim relief if the State Government fails to bring into force the proposed Karnataka Prevention of Illegal Mining Transportation and Storage of Minerals Act 2011 by March end.

However, the State Government has notified the draft Karnataka (Prevention of Illegal Mining, Transportation and Storage of Minerals) Rules 2011 on February 5 and has invited comments from the industry stakeholders and public within a month.

The new rules stipulate that minerals have to be transported only under a valid mineral despatch permit and make it mandatory for permit holders to file monthly returns which shall be reconciled on a quarterly basis. Vehicles transporting minerals have to be fixed with Geographical Positioning System.

Published on February 12, 2011

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