The Supreme Court today set aside the Orissa High Court order which had quashed state government’s petition to allot iron ore licence to South Korean steel major Posco in Khandadhar hills in Sundergarh district for a multi-crore steel plant.
A bench headed by Justice R M Lodha asked the Centre to consider all the objections raised by various parties pertaining to the mega steel plant and take a decision.
The court was hearing cross appeals filed by the state government and a mine and mineral company challenging the Orissa High Court’s order on the issue of iron ore mines.
The state government of Orissa and Geomin Minerals & Marketing Limited had challenged the orders of the Orissa High Court which has quashed the notification issuing iron ore mining in over 2,500 hectares in the Khandadhar hills in Sundergarh district in Orissa to Posco.
The High Court, on July 14, 2010 on the petition of Geomin Minerals, had set aside the state government’s decision.
Geomin Minerals had contended before the High Court that it had applied for the prospective licence for Khandadhar iron ore mines much before Posco.
The High Court had set aside the notification issued by the state government in 1962 reserving all mineral bearing land for exploitation within Orissa and take a fresh decision on it.
The High Court had further said that all mineral bearing land reserved by the state government prior to 1987, without the approval of the central government would not be deemed to have never been reserved.
The Orissa government, which had moved the apex court, on October 29, 2010 on this issue, had contended that the High Court could not have quashed the state government’s grant of licence to Posco as it was under section 11 (5) of Mines And Minerals (Development And Regulation) Act, 1957.