Mining season winds up in Goa; lump ore exports on in monsoons



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 said.

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 said.

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.

PTI