New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday allowed 18 mines to resume iron ore mining in Karnataka, the country's second-largest supplier, after a suspension of over a year on environment concerns, Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai said.

Furthermore, the court has asked these 18 mines to get the necessary clearances and then begin work in the state.

Notably, India used to produce about 200 million tonne a year of iron ore and exported about half of that, but clamp downs on illegal mining and New Delhi's desire to keep supplies for domestic steel mills have slashed that figure.

The output from the re-started mines will be in addition to state-run NMDC's 1 million tonne per month, which was cleared by the Supreme Court for production from August 6, 2011.

The apex court last year had also banned iron ore mining in Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts of Karnataka citing environmental violations, and asked a federal government body to carry out an environmental impact assessment.


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