The Supreme Court has stalled Sterlite Industries‘ bauxite mining project in Niyamgiri Hills of Odisha till local village body gram sabha in the state give clearance to it.
Sterlite Industries' shares did not react much and marginally declined to close the day at Rs 89, despite the Supreme Court (SC) not lifting mining ban at its Bauxite plant in Odisha.
The SC has directed the local village body, gram sabha to decide in three months on issues pertaining to the mining project. The SC has also directed Odisha government to share details of the mining proposal with the gram sabha
It was in 2010 that the forest ministry had refused clearance to the Vedanta Group bauxite mining project in the state on grounds that tribals residing in the region will be impacted along with environmental hazards. Later Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) which is a joint venture partner with Sterlite had challenged the ministry’' decision in the apex court.
During the proceedings, OMC and Sterlite Industries had claimed that no ecological damage has been caused due to the mining activities in Niyamgiri Hills.
This contention had been opposed by the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) and various tribal rights groups which had alleged that the project has violated environmental norms.
The ministry had submitted before the court that the forest dwellers cannot be evicted from proposed mining sites in Niyamgiri Hills of Odisha till the "community and individual" rights of residents are decided under the law.
Earlier in 2007, the MoEF had given in-principle approval to Sterlite's USD 1.7 billion bauxite mining project. However, in August 2010, the ministry had rejected the clearance citing various violation of forest and environmental laws.
In 2003, Vedanta Resources had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Odisha government for construction of one-million-tonne-per-annum capacity refinery for aluminium production in Kalahandi district.
Vedanta had later sought to expanded the refinery's capacity to six million tonne per annum.
As part of project, the South West Bauxite Mining Company Pvt Ltd, a joint venture of Vedanta and OMC had proposed to extract 73 million tonne of bauxite from around 721 hectares land over a period of 23 years. (with inputs from PTI)