Decision to be taken to increase production; Fresh extraction touches 14.25 million tonnes
PANJIM: After initial lull, the iron ore production in Goa is likely to touch its ceiling of 20 million tons, with fresh extraction touching 14.25 million tons till February for the current mining season- which will calumniate on May31.
Moreover, the State government is most likely to allocate additional quota of inactive lease holders to the mining firms, who crossed their permissible ore extraction limit.
Post Supreme Court lifting the one and half year long ban on the mining industry in April 2014, the Directorate of Mines and Geology (DMG) in 2015 renewed, (albeit controversially) 89 mining leases, of which 65 were allowed fresh extraction upto 20 million metric tons on pro rata basis.
As per the information available from DMG, for the season 2015-16 (which commenced only in November), total 33 mining leases resumed operation which extracted fresh ore of 7.30 million tons. State earned revenue of Rs 43 crores in form of royalty.
“Though the SC lifted ban in April 2014, it took more than a year for the mining leases holders to commence operation. The season, which otherwise commences in October, started in November in 2015. Considering the fact, that our sole market of low grade ore China, being captured by mining countries like Australia, it was a big challenge for the mining players to restore the damage,” a senior mining official said.
DMG records states that for the ongoing season- from October 2016 to February 2017, total 41 mining leases commenced operation, touching 14.25 million tons fresh production. The royalty earned was around Rs 240 crores.
Before the ban the industry was at boom wherein in 2010-11 and 2011-12, the iron ore production capacity used to be not less than 40 million tonnes for the season- with State revenue from the industry was almost thousand crores annually. Government itself is on record to State that from September 2012 to November 2015, State lost revenue of over Rs 3000 crores due to the ban and subsequent delay in resumption of the activity- which was once considered to be backbone of State economy.
However, the Supreme Court’s order directing e-auction of staked 15.33 million tons of ore, came as major respite to the Government- that helped them to earn revenue.
The DMG through 18 e-auctions has sold nearly 11 million tons of ore, while the balance 4.33 million tons to be auctioned in phase manner, soon. Revenue of around Rs 1500 crores has been collected, of which nearly 100 crores are been reimbursed to the mining companies, as extraction cost incurred by the mining companies and traders, whose ore was e-auctioned. Also, nearly 150 crores have been deposited towards Goa iron ore permanent fund.