Mining operations in Indian state of Goa suspended until further notice

The state government of Goa has suspended all mining operations from September 11, while it investigates irregularities and illegal activities in the sector.

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In a government notification to miners, RK Verma, principal secretary for mines and geology for the Goa state government said: “[The] Shah Commission’s report which [it] has submitted to central government has cited serious illegalities and irregularities concerning mining operations in the state of Goa.

“To scrutinise clearances obtained by the mining lease holders and allowing continuation of mining without proper scrutiny and verification of requisite approval, the Government of Goa, hereby [orders the suspension of all the mining leases existing in state of Goa with effect from September 11, 2012 until further orders.”

However, the statement added that the ban would not affect the “trade and transportation of ore already mined and existing in the leasehold area, in transit or stored or stocked on the jetties”.

“It came as a shock for Goa mines owners and exporters, as it is mentioned in the government notifications that government has suspended mining activities in the state,” S Sridhar, Executive Director, Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association told Steel First.

“We were given an indication that the state government was looking to ban illegal mining activities, but this decision [to ban all mining] surprised us.

“This will [affect] operations in the state as the monsoon season is about to complete. We have no idea when the [investigating] committee will be formed and by what period the process of screening of mines will be over,” Sridhar added.

However, state mining major Sesa Goa was more hopeful of a speedy resolution.

“The suspension of mining operations in the state will [affect] company production. However, we hope the suspension will be lifted in the second half of October 2012,” a Sesa Goa official told Steel First.

The company issued a statement, which said: “The director of mines, Government of Goa, on September 10, 2012, issued orders for the temporary suspension of mining operations of all the mining leases in state of Goa, with effect from September 11, 2012, until further orders. Consequently, Sesa Goa Limited has stopped ore extraction from all its mines in the state of Goa. The company will submit all relevant documents to the government authorities for scrutiny to ensure the early restart of Sesa’s operations.”

The government notice also directed all leaseholders or traders who have procured quantities of ore to report the exact quantity of ore with grades and other details including ore location, within a period of seven days, to the Director of Mines, Directorate of Mines & Geology, Goa, which will be verified by a team of mines, forest and revenue department officials.

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