Unable to fulfil demands of industries with the current cap of 30 Metric tonnes per annum on iron ore mining, Karnataka government is seeking an increase in the capping. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has asked officials of the mines and geology department to prepare a report on supply and demand and the requirement post-2020 when current licenses will expire.
"Karnataka requires no less than 54 MTPA by 2020. The current cap is 30 MTPA and we are seeking an increase of the cap up to 40 MTPA to meet demands of industries," said Vinay Kulkarni, the Minister of Mines and Geology. The state hopes to put across reports of demand and supply as well as an action plan before the Supreme Court-appointed central empowered committee to push for the increase in capping. Mining in Karnataka had come to a halt after years of illegal mining looted the state of its wealth.
Mining was resumed as per court orders in a controlled manner with a cap of 25 MTPA at mineral-rich Ballari and 5 MTPA each in Chitradurga and Tumakuru districts. The government of Karnataka has sought an increase in cap as well as appointing a single central government agency, the Mineral Exploration Corporation Limited (MECL), for exploring all iron ore mines in the state and present a clear audit.
Members of the CEC had visited the state to take stock of the situation in June. The possibility of increasing the cap of iron ore mining was also discussed during the visit. Sponge iron manufacturers met the members of CEC with a delegation to appraise them of the industry concerns. The state has also maintained that there was an urgent need to increase the cap on mining to meet the demands of steel industry before 2020.