Only two mining licences for value addition issued: Yeddyurappa

Friday, September 3, 2010

BANGALORE - Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Friday said his government had issued two mining licences only for value addition and renewed leases to eight companies in accordance with its new mining policy.

“We have recommended to the central government, issue of licences to state-run Hutti Gold Mines Ltd in Raichur district for mining gold and Suhilamma & Co for extracting manganese ore during the last two years,” Yeddyurappa told reporters here.

Refuting charges of the opposition Congress that the first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the state had permitted issue of 15 fresh mining leases, the chief minister clarified that licenses for eight companies were notified for renewal since 2008.

“We have not issued any fresh mining leases but renewed eight of the old leases after the central government granted approval on the recommendation of the previous governments,” Yeddyurappa asserted.

In accordance with the 2009 new mining policy, the state government submitted proposals of 23 companies to the central government for grant of mining leases or prospecting licences with value addition.

World’s largest steel maker ArcelorMittal India Ltd, Bhushan Steel Ltd, Kalyani Steel Ltd, Vishveshwaraiah Iron and Steel Ltd (VISL) and Bharat Mining Company are among the companies which have applied for captive mines to set up steel plants in the iron belt of north Karnataka.

“We have recommended to the central government to grant mining leases to these companies after ensuring that the raw material (iron ore) is used only for value addition and not for exporting it,” Yeddyurappa noted.

Among the 23 firms, seven have submitted investment plants to set up steel plants in the state and nine have agreements with existing plants in the country to use the iron ore for value addition (finished products).

“We are not opposed to mining per se. We are only against export of iron ore. We are in favour of exporting finished goods, which in turn will help the economy grow,” Yeddyurappa contended.

The chief minister also claimed that he had evidence of many central and state ministers having been involved in illegal iron ore mining in the state over the last decade.

“I am not going to keep quiet when baseless allegations are hurled against me. I am not Yeddyurappa if I do not expose them,” he asserted.

Details of former ministers who had a hand in illegal iron ore exports will be handed over to the ombudsman for further investigation.

Regretting that the Congress misled the public by disclosing partial information and deliberately hiding facts on recommendations made by its leaders for mining leases when they were in power, Yeddyurappa said 45 companies were involved in illegal export of iron ore to China from Belekeri port.

“Some of these companies are owned or run by Congressmen. The crime investigation department has filed charge-sheet against 55 people involved in illegal mining and export of iron ore,” he added.

Filed under: Economy

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