Panaji: Goa Government has said it will adopt a transparent mechanism to award mining leases in future and was studying the Supreme Court order lifting ban on iron ore extraction before taking a decision on vacating current mine operators whose fate hangs in balance.
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said the lease owners technically continue to remain in possession of mining sites as the State government was still analysing the Supreme Court judgement."
The apex court, in its order last month, cancelled all the mining leases in Goa which were not renewed after 2007 and at the same lifted an 18-month-old ban on iron ore extraction in the coastal State.
The order meant the mining leases were rendered illegal and they become a State property. Parrikar said his Government will decide the fate of these mining leases through a transparent mining policy which is likely to take shape by next month.
"We are also waiting for the new Government at the Centre to get in the saddle so that we can draft the policy in consultation with them," he said.
Goa had 90-odd mining leases when operations were temporarily banned by the Supreme Court in October 2012. The ban came after Justice M B Shah Inquiry Commission found that illegal mining worth Rs 35,000 crore was carried out in the State from 2005 onwards.
A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Crime Branch is currently looking into the alleged irregularities for which officials of State Mines Department and former Congress Minister Digambar Kamat have come under the scanner. These leases were granted some four decades back when mining had just started in the State.