India Court Asks 45 Iron Ore Mines to Get Approval to Start Work

India’s top court asked 45 iron ore mines in Karnataka to seek government approval to resume operations before lifting a ban imposed in the southern state after environmental violations.

The ministry of environment and forests must endorse the applications of the mines after checking their licenses and report to the court in two weeks, a panel of three judges headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia said in an order in the Supreme Court in New Delhi today.

Mining in Karnataka’s Bellary region was banned in July and extended to two other iron ore-rich regions in the state as the court probed violations of environmental rules. The restrictions led to production cuts by steel companies, which use iron ore as a raw material.

JSW Steel Ltd., India’s third-largest producer of the alloy, fell 1.6 percent, the most since April 9, to 750.75 rupees at the close in Mumbai. The benchmark Sensitive Index fell 0.7 percent. The company has a 10 million metric ton-a-year capacity factory in Karnataka.

State-run NMDC Ltd. was allowed by the court to mine 1 million tons of iron ore a month and sell it through online auctions.

The court on April 13 accepted a report from a panel that recommended lifting the ban on some iron ore mines in the state. Mining may take two months to restart after a verdict is passed on the recommendations, the court said at the time.

The 45 mines asked to seek approval didn’t violate environmental regulations, according to the panel, which was set up the Supreme Court.

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