Indian ministry rejects Vedanta mine plan: minister

24th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

India's Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday rejected controversial plans by British resources giant Vedanta to build a mine on land held as sacred by an Indian tribe.

Ramesh told reporters that forest clearance for the project had not been granted, in keeping with a recommendation by India's forest advisory panel.

"Only after being reassured by the attorney general, I have gone ahead with my decision -- upholding the recommendation of the panel after due consideration," he said.

The 8,000-strong Dongria Kondh tribespeople in Orissa state believe the remote Niyamgiri Hill range -- where the bauxite mine is mooted -- is the home of their God Niyam Raja, and rely on the land for their crops and livelihood.

London-listed Vedanta, the second-largest aluminium producer in India, wants the mine to secure a supply of bauxite for a nearby aluminium refinery, but opposition by the tribe has turned the project into a global cause celebre.

© 2010 AFP

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