Mining firms from Goa are awaiting reinstatement of environment clearances to resume work at their closed mines in the state, company officials said.
“Goa government has revoked its order banning mining. We are waiting for the reinstatement of the environment clearance from MoEF. We hope this will be done as fast as it was put in abeyance in September, 2012,” Sesa Sterlite’s Vice President (Iron Ore Business) A N Joshi said on Wednesday.
Mining can resume in Goa soon provided that statutory and regulatory clearances are granted immediately, he added.
Goa mines, closed for over two years now, are yet to be restarted though the Supreme Court lifted the ban in April last year. On January 15, Goa government revoked its order of September, 2012 that had suspended mining operations.
Miners termed the Goa government’s order as the first step towards resumption of mining in the state. “We are awaiting reinstatement of environment clearances.
We can commence mineral excavation soon after these are reinstated,” Ambar Timblo, Managing Director, Fomento Resources, one of the largest mining companies in Goa, said.
Prior to September, 2012, all mining leases operating in Goa had environment clearances. However, just a few days after state government’s order of suspending mining operations in Goa on September 10, 2012, the MoEF on September 14, 2012 had put the environment clearance in abeyance.
Since then, all verifications have been completed but environment clearances have not yet been reinstated. Goa Chief minister Laxmikant Parsekar had also written to Environment Ministry highlighting the “urgent need to commence forthwith legal and regulated mining operations” and requested the withdrawal of the ministry’s abeyance order of September 14, 2012.
Early this month, Goa government had renewed 87 mining leases, including several leases of miners like Sesa Sterlite, V M Salgaocar group, Chowgules, Fomento Resources etc.
Prior to the mining ban, Goa had 90 operational mines and the state used to export about 40-45 million tonnes of iron ore, mainly to China.