State govt orders lease extension of 26 mines

Bhubaneswar: The State government today issued orders for the lease extension of 26 mines under the new Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015.

In its order, the government has asked the mine lease holders to execute supplementary lease deeds with the government within three months, subject to compliance of certain conditions.

“The government has issued orders to the 26 mines for lease extension following the recommendations made by an inter-departmental panel and approval of the chief minister. The miners have been asked to execute their lease deeds within three months for operation of their mines,” said Odisha steel and mines secretary R.K. Sharma.

The renewal of operations of these mines, which includes 22 iron and manganese ore mines, can add up to 32 million tonnes of iron ore output.

However, the government has asked the lessees to comply with some conditions.

All the miners have to furnish forest clearance and mining plan before the execution of the lease deeds, said Sharma.

Besides, they will have to comply with the Supreme Court order to be pronounced in the final disposal of the cases relating to these mines.

Further, the lessees have to act in compliance with the relevant order of the Odisha High Court in cases pertaining to the 26 mines.

The court directed the government to extend the operations of these leases before April 27.

An inter-departmental committee, headed by the State’s development commissioner U.N. Behera, made the recommendation for operation of 26 mines, including 22 iron and manganese mines that were closed following the Supreme Court orders in May 2014.

The court ordered closure of 26 mines in the state which were operating under the deemed lease extension clause of the Mineral Concession Rules (MCR), 1960.

Later, the government issued order for eight mines to operate in the state. Of the mines operating under express order, lease deeds have been executed for three mines belonging to SAIL and one belonging to OMC has been given an extension.

Now, the remaining 18 iron and manganese mines and other four mines of limestone and dolomite would be operational after the execution of lease deeds, said Sharma.

Several mine owners, including Tata Steel, KJS Ahluwalia, Mid East Integrated Steel Ltd, Kaypee Enterprises, Kalinga Mining Corporation and KN Ram Ltd., would benefit from the government decision.

As per the amended MMDR Act, while eight captive mines – including seven from Tata – would continue their operation till 2030, other 18 non-captive mines would continue operation till 2020.