Goa panel recommends 20-25 MMT cap on iron ore extraction

Goa cannot have unlimited mining given its ecological sensitivity, the Mashelkar Committee said, demanding that the cap should be such that it will protect the environment and social well being of the state

Panaji: A committee of experts constituted by the Goa government has recommended a cap on extraction of iron ore in the coastal state to 20-25 million metric tonnes (MMT), which is almost half the existing exports, reports PTI.

 

The Goa Golden Jubilee Development Council (GGJDC), a panel headed by renowned scientist Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, in their Goa Vision 2035 report submitted to the government yesterday has recommended that the cap on mining should be between 20-25 MMT per year, exclusive of the mining dumps.

 

Mining dumps are low grade ore rejects which are piled up in the mining leases and outside it, and now become marketable because of its international demand.

 

The committee, which was formed last year, has suggested that the cap should be imposed from 2012-2017, to be reviewed thereafter, to reduce the ecosystem and social stress in the region due to mining activity.

 

The document, which was presented to Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar in a small function at his official residence yesterday, also speaks of appointing the high powered committee (HPC) on the issue of mining, comprising of experts from various fields, which can advise the government on how much the cap should be.

 

"The HPC should advice on the cap after examining evolution of mining in Goa and identifying the stress that have existed from time to time due to enhanced mining," he said.

 

Goa, India's biggest iron ore exporting state, shipped 43.5 MMT ore during the last fiscal, much less compared to the 54 MMT exports in the earlier financial year.

 

This is mainly because the mining industry is rigged with several illegalities and irregularities, which has put this trade in a tight spot.

 

Goa cannot have unlimited mining given its ecological sensitivity, the GGJDC has said, demanding that the cap should be such that it will protect the environment and social well being of the state without affecting the citizens who are dependent on mining for their livelihood.

 

On illegal mining in the state, the experts have said that an implementation committee should be formed to deal with all mining related activities, with a focus on those are violating the law of the land.

 

The GGJDC has recommended closure of mines that have been extracting ore beyond limits allowed by environment clearance given by union ministry of environment and forest.

 

The mines, if any, operating within wildlife sanctuaries, should be closed and leases in the buffer of dams should be terminated, it said.

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