Panaji: Mineral exploration companies in Goa have warned that iron ore exports from the state are likely to experience a sharp decline this year due to the ongoing row
over illegal mining, with overseas shipments plummeting even before the mining season formally kicked off in mid-September.
According to industry players, exports fell by almost 50 percent during the monsoon this year in comparison to the previous year.
"The worries about decreasing exports were discussed recently in a meeting of stakeholders called by the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT)," highly placed sources said.
The MPT accounts for the bulk of iron ore exports from India. Although the mining season began in mid-September, activity is yet to gain momentum.
Fears are being raised that the government`s directive to companies not to re-handle dumps of poor quality iron ore that have accumulated at pitheads across the state will lead to a
further drop in exports.
Official figures available from the MPT and the Panaji minor port indicate that one lakh tonnes of ore was exported in July last year, whereas this year, only 923 tonnes of ore
was routed through the two ports.
Exports were also down in August this year, with only 237 tonnes of ore shipped overseas in comparison to 463 tonnes last year.
The Goa Pollution Control Board has asked around 40 mines in the state to suspend their operations in the absence of consent under the Air and Water Pollution (Control) Act.
"If there are closure of mines then the exports will continue to be at a similar pace," a senior industry source said, adding that it would be difficult to achieve production
of even 30 million tonnes of iron ore in Goa this year, as against 54 million tonnes last financial year.
As per data, ore exports from Goa have been down since the beginning of the 2011-12 financial year, when the Karnataka mining crisis had a ripple effect on the industry in
Iron ore exports in April, 2011, stood at 4,767 tonnes, as against 5,566 tonnes in the corresponding period last year.