The Supreme Court on Thursday concluded two year long hearing on a case related to grant of mineral prospecting licence (PL) for Khandadhar iron ore mines in favour of Posco and reserved the judgment. It has directed all the parties concerned, such as the Odisha government, Posco-India and Geomin Minerals and Marketing (P) Ltd to give their written submissions by April 5. Earlier, the division bench of Orissa High Court in July 2010 had set aside the state government’s January, 2009 recommendation for granting PL in favour of Posco after Geomin Minerals and Marketing (P) Ltd contested it in the court.
The court had directed the government to reconsider the applications of other aspirants for the same mine who had submitted their applications prior to Posco. Geomin and other claimants for the property had argued that the state government did not consider their applications, some of which were submitted as early as 1991 and instead, recommended Posco’s case, which applied in 2005. The state government and Posco had moved Supreme Court against the decision of the High Court in October, 2010. The Khandadhar mines is spread over 2,500 ha area and is estimated to have 600 million tonne high grade iron ore deposits.