New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday indicated that it might allow private mining companies, which have not been given clean chit by its committee, to restart mining operation in Karnataka.
A three-judge forest bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam said it will pass its order on Monday for allowing companies to start mining on 21 leases.
The apex court, which had banned all kinds of mining activities in the state, will pass the order on recommendation of Central Empowered Committee (CEC) which said that A category mining leases, consisting of 21 operational and 24 non-operational, be allowed to carry out mining operations.
The bench, however, made it clear that they will have comply with the statutory rules and it would not impede any kind of investigation against them.
The bench also said that companies will have to damages for causing harm to environment for indulging in illegal mining in the state.
Earlier, the apex court had said it would not allow resumption of mining activities of iron ore in Karnataka unless there is a statutory compliance and full implementation of reclamation and rehabilitation measures.
The bench had also asked the CEC to examine if the works in the category `A` mines, with the least irregularities in them, could be commenced.
In its earlier report, the CEC had distinguished the mines in the area in three categories as A, B and C.
The mines in which there was least or no irregularities were categorised as `A` and those with maximum illegalities were put in `C` category.
Karnataka Iron and Steel Manufacturing Association had also sought immediate steps for opening of 16 iron and ore mines in which the apex court appointed expert panel, central empowered committee (CEC), had found minimum irregularities.