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India to recover US$3.17B in fines from illegal mining activity in Odisha

The government of India's Odisha state is expected to recover US$3.17 billion through fines on mining companies involved in illegal extraction of iron ore and manganese in the state as well as environmental violations since 2011, Mining Weekly reported Aug. 10, citing a senior government official.

The move came after a recent Supreme Court verdict mandating that mining companies will have to pay back 100% of the price of minerals extracted illegally. The court also rejected an earlier government plea for only 30% of the value of minerals to be sought from the relevant companies.

The Supreme Court indicated that Odisha should follow up to secure the funds from the miners by year-end, noting that the restart of mining operations is subject to penalties being paid by the mining lease holders.

"The Supreme Court order in the case of Odisha will not only have repercussions for mining across the country but also for coal mines operating without environment clearances and industries operating with clearances obtained under the 1194 Environment Impact Assessment order," RK Sharma, secretary general of the Federation of Indian Mineral Industries, said in a statement.