- MORE OR NO MORE?UNLIKELY TO BE A SEASON OF PLENTY
MORE OR NO MORE?UNLIKELY TO BE A SEASON OF PLENTY
SHWETA KAMAT digs a bit to find out the ore scene this season
As the new iron ore mining season is slated to commence next month, all eyes are set on the Supreme Court, which is expected to pronounce its verdict on increasing the annual ore production cap for Goa which is currently been fixed at 20 million tonnes. With the Expert Committee in its final report recommending enhancing the fresh ore production cap to 30 million tonnes and further to 38 million tonnes on augmentation of required infrastructure by the State government, the Supreme Court, hearing the illegal mining case, has agreed to consider increasing the annual production limit.
As with less than a month left for the new season to commence, there are some serious challenges before the mining players and the Government to ensure that the industry has smooth business, which was once considered as the backbone of the State economy.
High taxation, full-fledged resumption of mining operation, solution to increasing pollution, issues surrounding the truck operators, mining corridors, etc are some of the major issues before the industry, which is yet to pick up at its actually pace.
Iron ore mining operations had come to seasonal halt on May 31, owing to the onset of the southwest monsoon. After a three-year ban, mining activities on a limited scale commenced in the State during the 2015-16 season, with only 15 to 18 mines began fresh production.
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 tonnes. State earned revenue of Rs 43 crores in form of royalty.
However, the concluding season witness a marginal growth in the sector, with annual production touching 20 million ton mark. DMG records states that from October 2016 to February 2017, total 41 mining leases commenced operation. The royalty earned was around Rs 300 crores.
Meanwhile, the biggest issue before the central and State government is to draft the new mineral policy as per Supreme Court order in the latest Orissa illegal mining matter. The report has to be ready by October; based on which State will draft its mineral policy. Now the question is, whether Goa government is serious about exploiting and exploring the minerals? If so, what are the steps it has initiated? The fact is, Goa government has done nothing for this sector. There is no mechanism in place to regulate the mining sector. A Minister or officials cannot regulate this trade, you need experts from the field, said Harish Melvani, mine owner