Do not paint all with same brush: Top Goa miners

Sesa Goa, VM Salgaocar, Fomento Resourecs and Chowgule -- contributed 75 percent of the total 54 million tonnes iron ore exports from Goa last fiscal.

Updated: Nov 21, 2011, 20:52 PM IST

New Delhi: Ahead of the much-awaited Justice MB Shah Commission report on illegal mining, leading Goa iron ore miners, including Vedanta-controlled Sesa Goa, on Monday came together to say they were above board and all miners should
not be routinely labelled as indulging as illegal miners.

"The common allegation labelled against miners on encroaching into others territories, not paying royalty, mining without proper clearances. We do not fall under this category," top iron ore producers from Goa, under the aegis of
Goa Mineral Ore Exporters` Association, said here.

These four -- Sesa Goa, VM Salgaocar, Fomento Resourecs and Chowgule -- contributed 75 percent of the total 54 million tonnes iron ore exports from Goa last fiscal.

"We are into the business for the last 60 years when the boom in the iron ore was not there. We are not operators who fly-by-night. In fact, because of the presence of such particles, our reputation is at stake and people are trying to
paint us with the same brush," Sesa Goa`s managing director PK Mukherjee said.

The Centre had constituted last year the Justice MB Shah Commission to probe comprehensively on the issue relating to illegal mining. The Commission is likely to submit its report early next month.

Meanwhile, it was reported that the Shah Commission was ready with its draft report holding more than 50 percent of all working mines in Goa are guilty of illegalities.

When asked about it and Mukherjee said, "I don`t agree with that."

Shivanand Salgaokar, President, Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association, said that with the surge in demand from China for the iron ore, the mining industry in Goa has grown at a faster pace leading to entry of short-duration traders and operators
with the motif of making quick bucks.

"The Association does not deny that there are certain illegalities in mining and in particular in the spectrum of exports from the state. We want these to be identified and brought to justice," he said.

Exports of iron ore from Goa is likely to come down by 7-8 million tonnes this year to 47 million tonnes over 2010-11, he added.

PTI