Goa panel for 20-25 mt cap on iron ore extraction

PTI Panaji | Updated on July 12, 2012

A committee of experts constituted by the Goa Government has recommended a cap on extraction of iron ore in the coastal state to 20-25 million tonnes (mt), which is almost half the existing exports.

The panel, headed by renowned scientist Mr Raghunath Mashelkar, in its Goa Vision 2035 report, submitted to the State Government yesterday, has recommended that the cap on mining should be between 20-25 mt a year, exclusive of the mining dumps.

Mining dumps are low grade ore rejects which are piled up in the mining leases and outside it and now have become marketable because of its international demand.

The Goa Golden Jubilee Development Council, which was formed last year, has suggested that the cap should be imposed from 2012-2017, to be reviewed thereafter, to reduce the ecosystem and social stress in the region due to mining activity.

The document, which was presented to the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar, yesterday, also speaks of appointing a high-powered committee on the issue of mining, comprising experts from various fields, which can advise the government on how much the cap should be.

“The proposed committee should advice on the cap after examining evolution of mining in Goa and identifying the stress that has existed from time to time due to enhanced mining,” it said.

Goa, India’s biggest iron ore exporting state, shipped 43.5 mt ore during the last fiscal, much less than compared to the 54 mt exports in the earlier financial year.

This is mainly because the mining industry is rigged with several illegalities and irregularities, which has put this trade in a tight spot.

The council said that Goa cannot have unlimited mining, given its ecological sensitivity, and demanding that the cap should be such that it will protect the environment and social well being of the State, without affecting the citizens who are dependent on mining for their livelihood.

On illegal mining in the State, the experts have said that an implementation committee should be formed to deal with all mining related activities, with a focus on those who are violating the law of the land.

The council has also recommended closure of mines that have been extracting ore beyond limits allowed by environment clearance, given by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

The mines, if any, operating within wildlife sanctuaries should be closed and leases in the buffer of dams should be terminated, it said.

Published on July 12, 2012

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