Sun, 07 Jun, 2020

Goa moves apex court for mining ore dumps

CM says application filed to ‘clear the dumps’

14th January 2020, 02:59 Hrs

the goan I network


The Goa government is hoping for any early revival of the iron ore mining industry and has filed an application seeking clearance of the Supreme Court to the idea of mining the dumps across the State’s mining regions.   

The application seeking permission to “clear the dumps” by mining them was filed on Monday.   

Government sources said, the application seeks directions from the Supreme Court to the government to handle the mountains of iron ore dumps, which were pointed out by the Apex Court appointed Expert Appraisal Committee. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant announced the government’s move by posting it on his official Twitter handle.   

“An application for dump mining has been filed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. We are hopeful of a positive outcome in reviving the industry,” Sawant said in the tweet.   

The idea to mine the dumps, which are basically low-grade iron ore rejects of past mining operations and dumped in the form of huge mountain-like formations on the periphery of existing mining leases, was first mooted by former chief minister the late Manohar Parrikar, after the first Supreme Court imposed ban on the industry came in 2012.   

However, Parrikar never came to formulating a policy for mining the dumps and it never took off. Now, however, the Sawant government has taken the matter to the Apex Court and is seeking to secure its nod so the industry may revive at the earliest.   

Last counted, Goa had some 300-plus dumps carrying a quantum of iron ore of various medium and low grades estimated to be in the 

region of around 733.72 million tonnes.   

Iron ore mining, a crucial economic activity in the State for decades, has come to a complete halt for nearly two years after the Supreme Court held all of the 88 operating leases illegal.   

The Apex Court had also directed the State government to begin the process of granting mining leases afresh under the Mines and Minerals Development and Regulatory Act, (MMDRA) which by a 2014 amendment mandated public auctions.   

The State government and the local industry, however, was antagonistic to the public auction route and is hoping that outcomes of pending petitions before the Apex Court which seek to validate leases for 50 years since 1987 under the law which converted the ‘mining concessions’ issued under the Portuguese era laws to ‘mining leases’ under the Indian laws.   

Another strategy the State government is toying with is to set up a State-owned mining corporation to allocate leases and restart mining operations.   

Now, with the application filed before the Supreme Court to permit dump mining, the government has adopted yet another plan to restart mining.