Goa govt admits to illegal mining in affidavit bef

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 20:03

Panaji: Goa government has admitted before
the High Court that there has been illegal extraction of iron
ore in the state.

In the affidavit before Bombay High Court`s Goa bench,
Mines and Geology department has said that 6,000 tons of iron
ore was extracted in excess of Environment Clearance (EC)
limits last fiscal.

The affidavit is significant, because for the first time
state has conceded a violation of rules by mining industry.

The affidavit was filed in response to a PIL by NGO Goa
Foundation. However, Mines and Geology Department`s director,
Arvind Lolienkar, who has filed the affidavit, denies that
there is large-scale violation.

The government says that in FY 2009-10, fresh production,
or production from excavation, was 34.93 million tons, and
production from "rehandling of dumps" was 12.60 million tons.

"In 2010-11, the fresh production is 32.93 million tons
and production from dumps is 15.45 million tons," it says,
adding that therefore the overall production of fresh
excavation has not exceeded the capacity stipulated in the
Environmental Clearances.

"An exercise was undertaken to verify whether any
individual mine has exceed the EC limits...only in one case in
2010-11, production exceeded EC limits by 6,000 tons."

Prior to 2004, ore was exported mainly to Japan, and only
the ore of 58 per cent `fe` grade and above had market.

"The local mining companies, to meet the higher grade
demand, set up beneficiation plants whereby ore was upgraded
to 63 per cent fe and above. Any material less than 58 per
cent fe was dumped. As a result, dumps came up all over in the
mining belt.

When China opened its market to the ore of the grade as
low as 45 per cent fe, mining companies started rehandling old

Lolienkar says that because of these "rehandling" of old
dumps, the production appears to be in excess of EC limits.

The Public Accounts Committee of Goa Assembly has said in
its report that Goa government lost revenue of Rs 4,000 crore
due to illegal mining in the last five years.


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First Published: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 20:03

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