With an eye on the upcoming assembly elections in the State, the Goa cabinet approved a policy to permit the export of iron ore dumps, which will allow the resumption of mining activity in the coastal state for the next four to five years.
After chairing a cabinet meeting at the Secratariat, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant stated that 10 to 20 million metric tonnes of the low-grade iron ore was lying at different locations outside the mining leases, which can be exported as a part of the policy, so as to restart mining activities.
“Goa has enough ore to sustain the mining activity for the next four to five years. This ore is lying across the state at different places. The state government’s policy will regularise mining dumps on government and private lands,” he said.
“The cabinet decision approving the policy for handling iron ore dumps lying outside leases in private and government land will help in resumption of the mining activities. Around 10 to 20 million tonne below threshold ore, which presently lies dumped outside the mining leases, will be permitted to be exported,” he explained.
The chief minister further said that in the past, the State Land Revenue Code had empowered the state government to impose fines in case of where the land is used for dumping mining rejects or similar materials without the permission.
“We have collected fines to the tune of Rs 200 crore in 2013-14 from people who had dumped the ore outside the mining leases. Those who have paid the fines will be allowed to move the dumps after taking permission from the Indian Bureau of Mines and paying royalty payment as per the policy,” he said.
Sawant said that the dumps are allowed to be exported through the recent amendment to Minerals (Other than Atomic and Hydro Carbons Energy Mineral) Concession (Amendment) Rules, 2021 that came into force from November 12, 2021.
As per the Central rule, the state government can permit the lessee to dispose of the mineral by taking permission from the Indian Bureau of Mines and paying the royalty to the state government while additional environmental clearances will not be required, Sawant explained.
The ore, which was overburdened, waste rock or below the threshold value generated during the course of mining or beneficiation of the minerals, can be exported, the chief minister added
The cabinet also finalised the rate for e-auctioning of the iron ore.
“The second ore e-auctioning will take place within the next 15 days. The process of auctioning of iron ore blocks will start soon, as the government has already initiated talks with the State Bank of India,” he added.
The mining activities came to a standstill in Goa in March 2018 after the Supreme Court quashed 88 leases and banned extraction of iron ore.