Panaji, Oct 13 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed the transportation of already extracted iron ore, for which royalty has already been paid, from mining leases to loading points, while disposing of a petition filed by a mining company.
The decision is expected to partially revive the state’s beleaguered mining industry, which has been impacted by two bans on fresh excavation of iron ore due to irregularities in the last one decade.
Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told reporters at the state secretariat on Tuesday that the SC in its order has permitted transportation of iron ore for which royalty has been paid to the state government till January 31, 2021.
“SC has permitted transportation of iron ore till January 31. It is related to around four million tonnes of (royalty-paid) ore. With this, the mining business will begin in Goa,” Sawant said.
All fresh extraction of iron ore had been halted in 2018, after the apex court had found irregularities in the renewal of 88 leases, out of which the iron ore mines were operated.
The court had initially given time till March 15, 2018 for transportation of iron ore for which royalty (a state levy) had been paid by the mining companies.
In its petition, the private mining company had sought extension of time to transport iron ore, citing logistical issues as well as the lockdown and Covid-19 restrictions.
There are currently two other mining related petitions pending before the Supreme Court. One is a special leave petition filed by a mining company, which has sought extension of the mining lease period, thereby doing away with the need for renewal of its mining leases.
The other petition has been filed by the state government, which has urged the apex court to reassess its 2018 order, which had put the brakes on the state’s mining industry.
Mining was also banned by the apex court in 2012 following the unearthing of a Rs 35,000 crore scam by a judicial commission appointed by the central government. But mining resumed in 2015 with restrictions before it was banned again in 2018.
When the mining industry was at its peak, mining extraction, trade and export accounted for 30 per cent of the state’s gross domestic product.