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India's Environment and Forests Ministry has rejected a request from London-based Vedanta Resources to mine bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills of the eastern Odisha state after local residents objected to mining in a region they consider sacred.
Vedanta Aluminium's one-million tonne-a-year alumina refinery, located in the eastern state, has struggled to obtain bauxite within India ever since it began operations in August 2007. The company imports the key raw material.
"Vedanta forest clearance has been rejected. There will be no mining in Niyamgiri hills," Saswat Mishra, Chairman of the Orissa Mining Corporation told Reuters.
London-listed Vedanta refused to comment.
The Odisha Menace
South Korean steelmaker Posco waited eight years to build a $12.6bn (£7.6bn , €9.2bn) steel mill in Odisha, after it encountered long delays owing to protracted land disputes, environmental concerns and litigation.
The Posco proposal, to build a steel plant with an annual production capacity of 12 million tonnes, received environmental approvals on 10 January.
However, Posco's plan to build a port that caters to the planned steel mill was not granted environmental clearance.
In July 2013, the world's top steelmaker ArcelorMittal shelved plans to build a steel plant in Odisha citing drawn-out land disputes as the reason for pulling out.
The plan to mine bauxite in the Niyamgiri Hills, in the Kalahandi district, some 450km from state capital Bhubaneswar, had incurred the wrath of rights groups globally.
In April 2013, India's top court ordered the state to submit a report based on the opinion of local forest-dwellers to the federal environment ministry.
Residents of all 12 villages whose views the state government sought had collectively voted against mining in the area, saying any operation was equal to an infringement of their religious and individual rights.