IBM to scrutinize cases of errant miners
In a startling revelation, 87 out of 264 operational mines in Orissa have been found to have raised ores beyond the IBM (Indian Bureau of Mines) approved Mining Plan in the last ten years.
The findings pertaining to the irregularities and the violation of the IBM approved Mining Plan in case of these 87 mines are mentioned in an interim report submitted by a six-member, high-powered committee headed by Director (Mines) of the state government.
The committee was constituted as per the order of the state Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, to look into cases of excessive lifting of minerals by the miners and recommend the imposition of penalty on the errant miners.
“As per the interim report given by the committee, there are cases of 87 mines where ore extraction has been beyond the IBM approved Mining Plan. The excess mining has been in case of iron ore, limestone, manganese and chromite and there are cases where the miners have raised ores in excess of the IBM approved Mining Plan for a year or so in the last ten years. There may be instances wherein IBM may have ratified the partial excess achieved in ore production and so the matter would now be scrutinized by IBM”, an official source told Business Standard.
“We can decide on any necessary action against the errant miners only after the scrutiny by IBM is completed”, the source added but declined to comment on the name of the companies involved in excess lifting of ores.Raising of ores by the miners beyond the IBM approved mining plan, both in the public and private sector over the last ten years, had evoked protests from the Opposition political parties and caught the state government in a tight spot.
IBM specifies the quantum of ore that can be raised by a mining company in a year in its 'Mining Plan'.
Earlier, during the monsoon session of the state legislative assembly, the state industries minister had informed that eight out of 10 mines offered on lease to Tata Steel in Orissa by the state government had mined beyond the IBM approved mining plan during the last ten years.
The mines of Tata Steel which have recorded mineral production in excess of the IBM approved plan are Joda East Iron Ore Mines, Manmora Manganese Mines, Katamati Iron Ore Mines, Guruda Tiringpahad Manganese Mines, Bamebari Manganese Mines, Joda West Manganese Mines, Sukinda Chromite Mines and Malda Manganese Mines. Nine out of 10 mines were carrying out operations under deemed extension, according to the fact sheet provided by the minister on the assembly.
However, Tata Steel has denied any violation of law in this regard. When contacted by Business Standard, a senior company official stated that Tata Steel’s ore production has been ratified by IBM post-excavation.
Mohanty had also informed during the assembly session that the state government owned Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) was among the four other firms operating in the Joda-Barbil belt in Keonjhar district to have extracted minerals beyond the IBM approved mining plan.