A three-judge forest bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam accepted the report of its Central Empowered Committee (CEC) which had said that Category 'A' leases which consist of 21 operational and 24 non-operational leases be allowed to carry on their business as they have not violated any rules.
While reading out its order, the bench also said that companies are allowed to carry out mining operations with certain conditions. The ban on mining of iron ore for the remaining leases will continue. In its report, the CEC had put the mines in the area into three categories as A, B and C. The mines in which there was least or no irregularities were categorised as 'A' and those with maximum illegalities were put in 'C' category.
The Karnataka Iron and Steel Manufacturing Association had sought immediate steps for opening of those iron ore mines in which the apex court appointed expert panel, central empowered committee (CEC), had found minimum irregularities.