Panaji: With the onset of the monsoon in Goa,
the nine-month-long mining season in the state has come to a
close, with trucks seen transporting the last-extracted iron
ore consignments over the weekend.
Goa, which is the highest exporter of iron ore, will now
see only lumpy ore being sent abroad through its port located
in Vasco town.
The monsoon arrived in Goa last Friday, signalling the
winding up of the mining season, which was marked with several
protests and environmental issues this time.
The Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA), a body
representing ore exporters, has said that the exports would
be down by almost 80-90 percent during the monsoon as the ore
in the form of fines cannot be transported in wet weather.
GMOEA Secretary Glenn Kalavampara said only lumpy ore
would be exported during the monsoons, with a few exceptions.
"There are a few mines which export fines by taking
abundant precautions like extra covering on the trucks," he
Kalavampara said few mines which have lumpy ore will
continue their operations during monsoons.
"There are several smaller mines which also have lumpy
ore, but they cannot export it because the quantity is
minimal," he said.
The mining business has to shut down largely because port
operations at Panaji minor port and also major operations at
Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) comes to an end during monsoons.
"The transhipper can only be loaded at mooring dolphins,
a facility at the breakwater offered by MPT," Kalavampara
MPT website mentions that there are three mooring
dolphins in place while the plans are on to have three more.
Goa has around 100 active mining leases, which extract
and export around 40 million metric tonnes of ore annually.
As against the general turnover of six million metric
tonnes of iron ore exported every month, only one million
metric tonnes of iron ore can be exported during rainy days.
That means business crumbles to the lowest level.
Barges that carry iron ore from jetties to transhippers
also close down for the rainy season as they are docked in the
yards for annual maintenance.
Also, rough seas force barge owners to abandon their
operations and sit back till monsoon withdraws.