NEW DELHI, Aug. 17 -- India's environment minister Jairam Ramesh said late Monday a decision will soon be made on whether or not to approve Vedanta Resources PLC's (VED.LN) proposed bauxite mining project in east India's Niyamgiri Hills, the Press Trust of India reported.
According to the report, Ramesh said a new ministry panel will meet on Aug. 20 to consider a report submitted by a four-member panel Monday.
"No one will be allowed to violate the law. I will take a decision in totality under the Forest Conservation Act. Then only the final clearance will be given to the mining project," the report quoted him as saying.
The four-member panel warned Monday that approval for the Vedanta project would have grave consequences for tribal people in the Niyamgiri Hills, with about 20% of the 8,000-strong Dongria Kondh group living in the project area.
"An impact on such a significant fraction of the population of the community will have repercussions on the community's very survival," the panel said.
Vedanta's proposal to mine bauxite in the hills has been awaiting federal environmental clearance for almost 20 months.