New Delhi (Agencies): The Supreme Court on Friday directed the Karnataka government to permit the export of iron ore which has piled up at major ports of the state after a ban was imposed on overseas shipments to check illegal mining.

A bench comprising Justices RV Raveendran and AK Patnaik also asked the state government to notify a proposed new law to check illegal mining in the state by March 31.

The bench added that if the state government does not bring the proposed Karnataka Prevention of Illegal Mining Transportation and a Storage of Minerals Act, 2011, into force by the end of March, mining firms would be entitled to get interim relief.

The direction came after a plea was filed by mining firms challenging two orders of the state government banning the transportation of iron ore within the state and exports from ports.

The firms that challenged the order of the state government were Sesa Goa, MSPL and SB Minerals Enterprises.

Earlier, the Karnataka government had banned the transportation of iron ore for export purposes for six months pending a legislation to curb illegal mining.

The apex court had also said the ban was short-term in nature, imposed only for six months originally, and had asked the government not to extend it beyond January.