The Supreme Court on Monday said it would hear in April the plea of Vedanta Ltd seeking its nod to restart iron ore mining in Goa.
A bench, comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and Justices B R Gavai and Surya Kant, was told by Vedanta that as per the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, its iron ore mining lease would be extended for a period of 50 years from 1987 to 2037.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, said he was “fully endorsing” the interpretation given by senior advocate Harish Salve, the counsel for the company of the statute, on the extension of mining lease.
Lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO ‘Goa Foundation’, vehemently opposed the submissions and said that the apex court, in its two judgments, has cancelled the mining lease of various companies.
Moreover, the NGO has not been supplied with the copy of the petition by the company, he said.
The court said it will hear arguments by the NGO also in the case filed by Vedanta group firm.
Earlier, the court had issued notices to the Centre and the state government on the plea filed by Vedanta Ltd seeking extension of iron ore mining lease in Goa till 2037.
Prior to this, the Bombay High Court had rejected Vedanta’s plea for directions to the Goa government to consider its representation for extension mining lease.
The decision was challenged by the company in the top court.
The apex court had on January 30 permitted mining firms to transport “royalty paid” iron ore, mined prior to March 15, 2018 in Goa.
It had taken note of the legislative policy and had directed the mining firms that all “such transportation shall be completed within a period of six months from today”.