Orissa allows six iron ore mines to resume operations

Orissa on Monday allowed six iron ore mines to resume operations after their operators submitted documents to show that their mining activities were legal, an official said.

Last Updated: Jan 24, 2011, 16:13 PM IST

Bhubaneswar: Orissa on Monday allowed six iron ore mines to resume operations after their operators submitted documents to show that their mining activities were legal, an official said.

The permission to operate was held up Friday for 23 iron ore mines in Joda area of the state`s mineral rich Keonjhar district after the government found them operating without submitting required documents like forest clearance, mining lease, and surface rights.

"Six of them submitted their documents. We allowed them to resume operation after the documents were found valid," Deputy Director (Mines) Umesh Chandra Jena told a news agency.

He said operations at the remaining 17 mines will not be allowed until they submit their papers. "They have been given seven days` time," he said.

Orissa is one of the largest mineral-bearing states in India having an estimated 16.92 percent of the country`s mineral reserves. The state government started an investigation in July 2009 following allegations that some mines were operating without licence.

The state government earlier this month had said it is likely to seek a ban on the export of iron ore and chrome ore from the state to meet domestic demand and prevent illegal mining.

The steel and mines department has already drafted a proposal and placed it before state Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadai and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for approval.

Once it is approved, the government will send a formal proposal to the central government, a senior official of the state steel and mines department said.

Orissa has approximately 600 mines and more than half of them have been closed since the past one year after the government tightened rules to prevent illegal mining.

IANS