BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Tuesday decided to set up a sub-committee to conduct a study on the carrying capacity of the mining circles to put a cap on production and despatch of minerals.
A series of decisions on the mining sector was taken as per the recommendations of Justice M B Shah Commission at the State Level Task Force on Mining meeting here, presided over by Chief Secretary G C Pati.
“Since the inter-departmental committee has recommended to the Government to reopen 18 mines, the sub-committee will make an assessment on the quantum of mineral production and submit its report to the Government within 15 to 20 days,” Director of Mines Deepak Mohanty told reporters after the meeting.
The State Government imposed a cap on production and dispatch of iron ore from Joda and Koira mining circles from 2012-13 following objection from the Shah Commission, which observed that production limit granted as per the environment clearances for iron ore mines in the State is much more than the carrying capacity.
The State Government had fixed the cap on production of iron ore at 57 million tonnes in 2014-15. While the cap was 13 million tonnes in Koira sector, it was 44 million tonnes in Joda sector.
The cap was imposed after allegations that mineral transportation in the region was causing adverse impact on the environment.
The Shah Commission had recommended capping iron ore production between 50 and 55 million tonnes per annum (MTPA). The production can be increased at 7.5 per cent a year or equivalent to the growth of steel and sponge iron industries subsequently, it said.
The Task Force also decided to set up another special squad to check theft of minerals, Mohanty said.
A State Level Enforcement Squad in the Directorate of Mines is already in place to carry out raids and surprise visits to theft-prone areas, en route to checking of mineral carrying vehicles, verify the mineral storage depots, end-use plants, crushers and other susceptible locations.
The meeting also decided to conduct Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) survey of the remaining 148 iron ore and manganese ore mines in the State. Lease holders of these mines will be required to complete DGPS survey within six to nine months, Mohanty said.
DGPS surveys of 39 mines were conducted following recommendations of Justice Shah Commission of Inquiry.