Allow us to harvest existing mining dumps: Goa to SC

Allow us to harvest existing mining dumps: Goa to SC

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. (Credit: DH)

Making a fresh pitch for the resumption of the beleaguered mining industry in Goa, the state government on Monday filed an application before the Supreme Court pleading for permission to harvest existing mining dumps, which are essentially ‘mountains’ of inferior quality ore dumped outside mining leases.

“An application for dump mining has been filed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. We are hopeful of a positive outcome in reviving the industry,” Chief Minister Pramod Sawant tweeted on Monday. 

Mining dumps have huge heaps of low-grade iron ore dumped by mining companies near their mining leases over the decades.

The dumped ore was not processed at the time because of lack of feasibility, during the 2000s mining boom. There are currently over 736 million tons of iron ore dumped in mountain-like heaps in Goa’s mining belt. 

Mining has been banned in Goa on two occasions by the Supreme Court, the latest being the 2018 ban on the industry after the apex court found irregularities in the lease renewal processes of nearly 80 mining leases. 

The apex court had directed Goa government to re-issue the mining leases afresh, but pressure from the existing mining leaseholders to renew the leases in their favour has stalled efforts, even as Goa government after more than a year has been tinkering with the idea of forming a state government-run corporation to run the mining industry.

The Sawant-led administration subsequently also filed a review petition before the apex court, urging the Supreme Court for a re-look at its February 2018 order banning the mining industry.  

At its peak, the mining industry which exported over 50 million tons of iron ore primarily to China, account for nearly 30% of Goa’s GDP.

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