Vedanta bags Goa’s first iron ore mining block

Vedanta Ltd. won the bid to purchase the first iron ore block in Goa, located in the Taluka of Bicholim. The real mining operations, however, are most likely to begin after the monsoon next year. The state government’s ongoing efforts, according to Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant, led to the successful auctioning off of Bicholim, Goa’s first iron ore mining block. Since the Supreme Court’s 2012 ban on mining operations, the Chief Minister claimed that no iron ore has been extracted.

“The government, however, had always made every effort to recommence mining operations. I understand the issues that the residents of Bicholim, Sanvordem, Sanguem, Quepem, and other mining communities suffer because I’m from the mining belt,” he continued.

According to Dr. Sawant, the Vedanta business formerly managed this specific iron ore block in Bicholim. As the government has demanded that locals must be given preference, this will enable it to keep hiring the same people for mining operations. In the following days to come, the final three Phase 1 blocks will be auctioned off.

“The Supreme Court approved our plan to auction off iron ore dumps, a mining company was able to secure the first mining block in Goa. The government will begin conducting electronic auctions for iron ore dumps that were mentioned in the initial list in the coming days. Later on, we’ll find other dumps to put up for auction,” he said.

He predicted that within a year, mining activities will pick up steam in the state and provide income for both the populace and the government.

51 tender applications for the four mining blocks were bought by different mining corporations, and 28 companies’ submitted bids. There were five bidders for the Bicholim block. Vedanta rose to the top bidder position for it. According to the mines director,  Suresh Shanbhogue, the entire cost of the resources from the four blocks is estimated to be Rs 43,000 crore.

The winning bidder firms would pay a premium amount equal to 215 crore, or 0.05% of the Actual Sale Price (ASL), according to the Indian Bureau of Mines. “They have 15 days to pay 20% of that amount. After that, the government will issue them letters of intent to conduct business,” he explained. Three years is the maximum amount of time that mining companies have from the day that the agreement was signed to get all the licences necessary to operate the blocks.

“In our opinion, six to seven months should be sufficient for them to acquire the necessary licences, including environmental clearance. And perhaps after the 2023 monsoon, actual operations will start,” the director said.

Seven additional mining blocks have already been designated by the government, and e-auctioning for those blocks will start soon.

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