India supreme court lifts blanket ban on iron ore mining

The Indian Supreme Court lifted a ban on operations for 63 iron ore mines in the southern state of Karnataka on Thursday.

In 2011 the court banned ore mining in Karnataka and in Goa in response to claims that illegal mining was damaging the environment. The court will turn next to the comprehensive mining ban in Goa, which is still in effect today.

Taken together the mining bans in these two states significantly reduced total iron ore output in India, the world's third largest producer. Producers worldwide watch the Indian iron ore market carefully as supply volatility affects prices and, therefore, business decisions.

In 2009, India exported 120 million tons of iron ore but may soon become a net importer of the metal as a result of these recent supply disruptions.

The 63 Karnataka mines will take up to two years to again become operational.

The court also canceled licenses of 49 mines that face more serious allegations of illegal mining and land degradation.

 

Sources: The Financial Times; The Wall Street Journal; CNBC