"We are of the view that under the extraordinary circumstances, NMDC be allowed to operate these mines (two mines) to extend the production of iron ore to the tune of one million tonnes per month from Saturday onwards," a special forest bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia said.
The bench kept private mine owners out of the mining activities and made it clear that no part of the iron ore extracted by the NMDC will be exported.
The bench also made it clear that the Karnataka government will levy royalty at a rate of 10 per cent of the current market value of the iron ore.
It also directed that a macro-level environment impact assessment (EIA) to be undertaken by Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) in collaboration with Wildlife Institute of India, Forest Survey of India and other such expert organisations in the field of forestry as decided by ICFRE in consultation with Ministry of Environment and Forest.
The EIA report has to be submitted within three months. The bench also directed the Karnataka government to furnish within three months the reclamation and rehabilitation plan of Bellary district.
While passing the interim order, the court said, "It was observing the mandate of Article 21 of the Constitution for precautionary principle and internal generational equity."