New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned hearing on dispute on allocation of iron ore mines in 2,500 hectares in the Khandadhar hills in Orissa to South Korean POSCO, which has proposed to set up 12mtpa steel plant at an investment of Rs 51,000 crore in the state.
A bench of justices RV Raveendran and AK Patnaik adjourned the matter after counsels appearing for the state government, Posco and others sought more time to file replies.
Admitting it, the bench asked the parties to file their replies and rejoinders in three weeks and directed listing of the matter after six weeks.
The apex court is hearing cross petitions filed by the Orissa government, POSCO and Geomin Minerals & Marketing, a mine and mineral company.
Earlier on July 14 this year, the Orissa High Court on a petition by Geomin Minerals had set aside state government's decision to allot iron ore licence in Khandadhar hills in Sundergarh district to Posco.
Geomin Minerals had contended that it had applied for the prospective licence for Khandadhar iron ore mines much before POSCO had.
The high court had also set aside the notification issued by the state in 1962 reserving all mineral bearing land for exploitation in Orissa.
The Orissa government had contended before the apex court that Section 11 (5) gives power to the state government to "grant a reconnaissance permit, prospecting license or mining lease, as the case may be, to an applicant whose application was received later in preference to an application whose application was received earlier".
The state government in January 2009 had recommended POSCO to the central government for granting prospective licence for Khandadhar iron ore reserves.