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SC rejects private miners’ plea to lift ban on mining in Bellary

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today rejected the plea of private miners to lift its ban on mining in Bellary district of Karnataka saying the ”profit was not important but the balancing of the right of clean environment is”.

A special forest bench headed by the Chief Justice S H Kapadia rejected the plea of the Federation of Indian Mining Industries (FIMI) and asked them to co-operate with the Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) which will prepare a report by conducting a macro-level Environment Impact Assessment.

The bench was not impressed by the submission of senior advocate Dushyant Dave that the miners and the steel industry would suffer a loss. “Profit is not important but balancing the right of clean environment under Article 21 is,” said the bench.

The bench, which today allowed National Mineral Development Corporation to allow mining in two of its mines in Bellary district, asked the private companies to get their ores extracted by the PSU. This was opposed by FIMI saying “it would be like nationalisation of our mines. Why would they mine in our area,” he said.

Dave said the apex court was differentiating between private and government firms.”How can you allow some one to mine in the same region and not others”? On the issue of the mining in the forest, Dave said it was a global phenomenon.

“Globally mines are in forests, even here also. By that account, mining in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Orissa should stop,” he said. However, the apex court said it was only a temporary measure and it was going only by law and it would not allow any mining without mandatory EIA.

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