SC issues notice to Centre, Orissa govt, Posco

SC issued notice to Centre, Orissa govt and Posco on a petition filed by Geomin Minerals.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre, Orissa government and South Korean steel major Posco on the petition filed by Geomin Minerals & Marketing Limited, a mine and mineral company, challenging the Orissa High Court order.

Geomin Minerals & Marketing Limited has challenged the order of Orissa High Court which has quashed the notification issued by the state government.

The notification was for grant of prospective licenses for iron ore mining in over 2,500 hectares in the Khandadhar hills in Sundergarh district in Orissa.

A bench of justices RV Raveendran and AK Patnaik directed to maintain status quo as of today till further hearing.

Earlier, in this issue, the state government had also challenged the order of the High Court, which on July 14 this year, had set aside the state government`s decision to allot iron ore licence in Sundergarh district to Posco.

The high court`s order came on the petition filed by Geomin Minerals, which had contended that it had applied for the licence for Khandadhar iron ore mines much before Posco.
The Orissa government had contended before the apex court that the high court could not have quashed the state governments grant of licence to Posco as it was under section 11 (5) of Mines And Minerals (Development And Regulation) Act, 1957.

It had further contended that Section 11 (5) gives power to the state government to "grant a reconnaissance permit, prospecting license or mining lease, as the case may be, to an applicant whose application was received later in preference to an applicant whose application was received earlier."
The state government in January 2009 had recommended Posco to the Central government for granting prospective licence for Khandadhar iron ore reserves.

Geomin challenged the state government decision.