Free Press Journal

Goa planning to start mining from Oct: Parrikar


Hyderabad: Post Supreme Court partially lifting iron ore mining ban in the state, the Goa government expects the mineral extraction to start from October and reach 20 million tonnes per annum level in the next 12 months.

“Even reaching 20 million tonnes is not so easy immediately. So, it will take one year to reach the target, though we are planning to start by October or November,” Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters in Hyderabad.

The Supreme Court earlier this week had lifted its 18-month-old ban on all mining activities in Goa by allowing annual excavation of up to 20 million tonnes of iron ore.

The apex court passed a slew of directions for the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) and the Goa government for strictly regulating mining activities in the state till the expert panel, set up by it, submits its final report.

The Chief Minister said mining which contributes as much as 25 per cent to the state economy had been impacted negatively by the ban.

“It (the partial lifting of ban) is going to benefit the state a lot. But the first target is to take care of the people, who were rendered unemployed, whose businesses have been affected by the earlier ban,” he said replying to a query on the impact of the earlier ban.

He said the state mining policy will be ready in a couple of months and it will have a clear-cut policy framework as far as mining is concerned.

“Maybe in a couple of months we should be ready with the policy. There will be a clear-cut policy frame work. At the national level also we require a transparent policy framework under which everyone will get the benefit,” he added.

To a query, he said the government has no intention of taking up mining as demanded by some pressure groups.

Talking to reporters in Panaji, Parrikar said the iron ore exports from Goa would start from September onwards and during the first lot the e-auctioned ore would be shipped.

“We have 13-18 MT ore lying with us, which can be e-auctioned in the month of September so that the economic activity can start,” he said.

The mining operations can start by October and they will later pick up momentum by January, next year.

Parrikar said that he has called a meeting of stakeholders tomorrow to address their apprehensions about the situation that would prevail once the mining activity starts.

The chief minister said that the government’s order suspending the mining leases issued in September 2012, will be withdrawn only after proper policy is framed to give future direction for the industry in the state.

Parrikar ruled out auctioning of the mining leases in the state, claiming that the transparent and fair policy will handle the issues related to the mining leases.

“The state government will not allow indiscriminate mining in the state. Though environment clearances would be granted for the mining leases, the government will restrict the ore extraction through its own regulatory methods,” Parrikar said.

Goa planning to start mining from Oct: Parrikar