Panaji, July 15 (IANS) Mining of iron ore dumps will start in Goa within six months, while e-auction of already extracted ore lying used in mining areas a jetties will begin in 20 days, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told the state Legislative Assembly on Monday.
Replying to a Zero Hour mention by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Pravin Zantye, Sawant also said that he would be attending a meeting of a Group of Ministers appointed by Home Minister Amit Shah this week, to chart out a solution for resumption of mining in Goa, which was banned last year by the Supreme Court.
“The Central government has taken this issue seriously. Shah has already formed a group of Ministers comprising of Union Ministers for Finance, Environment, Mining, Commerce, Law, among others to resolve the issue,” Sawant said.
“We are meeting the Group of Minister again this week and I am hopeful a solution will be found.”
Sawant told the state Assembly, that he would authorize e-auctioning of already extracted iron ore within 20 days and dump mining would start within six months.
“Dump mining will start in six months. If not mining extraction, at least mining activity will start,” Sawant said, adding that resumption of the mining industry was a priority for his government.
Mining dumps are essentially mountainous heaps of low grade iron ore dumped by mining companies near their mining leases over the decades. The dumped ore was not processed at the time because of lack of feasibility, during the 2000s mining boom. There are currently over 736 million tons of iron ore dumped in mountain-like heaps in Goa’s mining belt.
The mining issue has been hanging fire in Goa, every since the apex court banned extraction and transportation of iron ore from 88 mining leases from March 2018, while also directing the state government to re-issue mining leases.
The is the second time is less than a decade that all mining in the state has come to a standstill.