NEW DELHI: Environment Minister Veerappa Moily has decided not to allow theVedanta Group to mine the Niyamgiri Hills for bauxite, the raw material that it needs for its Rs 4,500-crore alumina plant at Lanjigarh, ministry officials said. The decision will be conveyed to the Supreme Court this month, they added.
Moily’s decision brings to a close Agarwal’s decade-long efforts, both in and outside the courts, to source bauxite from the Niyamgiri Hills, which is held sacred by the Dongria Kondh tribe. The mines were to be developed by a joint venture between Vedanta group company Sterlite and the Orissa Mining Corp (OMC). Sterlite holds majority stake in the joint venture.
The minister’s decision comes on the back of the overwhelming rejection by 12 state-government designated villages of the proposal to mine the Niyamgiri Hills. In April, the Supreme Court had ruled that villages in the two districts of Rayagada and Kalahandi were to decide if mining should be allowed in the Niyamgiri Hills