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Sesa Goa set to resume mining in Karnataka; forest nod recommended

NEW DELHI: A top advisory body of theEnvironment Ministry has recommended grant of forest clearance to Sesa Goa's iron ore mine in Karnataka, paving the way for the Vedanta group firm to resume operations in the Southern state after about 2 years. 

Moreover, a final decision from the Environment Ministry in this regard is also expected by this month, official sources said.

"After discussion, the Committee recommended the proposal with standard conditions and additional conditions of compliance to all conditions stipulated by the
Supreme Court in writ petition (Civil) no 562/2009 and in other similar cases," Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Environment Ministry (MoEF) said in its recommendation for grant of forest clearance to Sesa Goa. 

The FAC is the top advisory body of the MoEF for issues related to forests, including grant of forest clearances and diversion of forest land. It had considered Sesa Goa's application in its last meeting held on June 10 and 11. 

At present, Sesa Goa's all mining operations in India are closed primarily due to Supreme Court-imposed mining bans in Goa and Karnataka. In Goa, the ban is still continuing but in Karnataka, it was lifted by the apex court in April. 

Sesa Goa's mine in Chitradurga district was also among the beneficiaries of the lifting of ban in Karnataka but the Vedanta group firm could not reap the benefits as its mining lease had expired in October 2012 itself. 

With the expiry of mining lease, forest clearance granted to the company had also ended. The company, after grant of forest clearance, can resume mining operations in Karnataka on deemed basis till the lease is renewed. 

When asked, a 
Sesa GoaBSE 1.48 % spokesperson said that the company is ready to resume mining as and when it gets the approvals. 

"All indications suggest that MoEF clearance for mining resumption is imminent. However, government procedures do take their own time. We are in a state of readiness and expect that we would be able to resume operations at our Chitradurga mine in Karnataka by the end of the month, depending upon the clearances," the spokesperson said.