Goa to dispose iron ore stockpile via e-auction

Jayanta Mallick Kolkata | Updated on November 24, 2017

First sale in the State since October 2012 mining ban

In a bid to dispose of its iron ore stockpile, the Goa Government has decided to engage State-owned metal scrap trading firm MSTC Ltd for the e-auction of 3.9 million tonnes (mt) unaccounted and confiscated iron ore.

This would be the first sale of iron ore in Goa since October 2012 after the State Government and the Supreme Court banned mining and the sale of the mineral.

Formal communication

MSTC Chairman and Managing Director SK Tripathi confirmed to Business Line on Friday that the State Government formally conveyed the decision to the company last week.

‘Illegally extracted’ ore

The State Government confiscated 3.9 mt of unclaimed or unrecorded ore stock at different places in the past few months and placed the details before the court, said sources.

This “illegally extracted” iron ore quantity would be put up for e-auction first.

The apex court in October last year had also allowed e-auction of 11.48 mt of ore inventories with clear ownership.

This auction could take place after the initial lot (3.9 mt) was cleared, they added. The State has issued a notification for auctioning 15.39 mt of iron ore.

Special fund

The apex court has reportedly asked the State to keep the sale proceeds of these e-auctioned iron ore in a special fund until the case (irregular and environment degrading mining in the State) is settled.

The Supreme Court allowed resumption of sale of iron ore in Karnataka in September 2011 only through e-auctions, which allowed a transparent price discovery. Goa’s iron ore is of inferior quality and is exported to steel units in China, Japan and South Korea.

Panel report by Feb 15

The apex court, though kept the ban intact, appointed a six-member expert committee on operational metrics.

The panel is scheduled to submit its interim report by February 15. The committee, among other aspects, would recommend a cap on production of mines related to road-dependent evacuation without polluting environment.

Sesa Sterlite (formerly Sesa Goa), India’s largest private iron ore exporter, on December 28 resumed operations at its Karnataka mine. Its Goa operations, however, remains closed.

Published on January 24, 2014

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