SPOTLIGHT: Karnataka relaxes iron ore mining ban, export ban still holds

Apr 26, 2012 | 06:30 AM |

India’s Supreme Court took tentative steps last week towards allowing the global market to regain access to Indian iron ore after a year-long hiatus. The country’s government promised on April 20 to relax a blanket ban on mining, imposed by its supreme court in a bid to curb illegal extraction of iron ore in the state of Karnataka. Mining could resume in the region as early as June, it added. Under the proposed new legislation, mines whose operations cover more than 50 hectares will be allowed to restart production after environmental rehabilitation and resettlement plans have been approved by the Indian Council for Forest Research & Education. The ban was enacted in an attempt to halt environmental damage caused by illegal mining, but all iron ore miners in the state, regardless of the size and quality of their operations, were affected. Welcome news The review will come as welcome news to India’s larger iron ore producers, many of which saw their revenues and output nosedive after the mandate was imposed. Vedanta saw its iron ore output fall by 25% in 2011....

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