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CM discusses plans for early resumption of mining

PANAJI: Moving forward with his efforts, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Tuesday held a joint meeting with the mining stakeholders and officials of the government to work out a suitable solution for early resumption of mining operations in the state while respecting all applicable Acts and the Supreme Court judgments since 1998.

The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Parimal Rai, Secretary mines Daulat Hawaldar, director of mines Amey Abhayankar besides a delegation including mining industry representatives Ambar Timblo, Shivanand Salgaonkar, spokesperson of Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association Glen Kalavampara and others.

Speaking to the reporters after the meeting, the Chief Minister said that the representatives of the mining industry have suggested steps on how to go forward to resume mining activities in the state. “The government has asked the industry to re-submit a fresh memorandum in this regard, which we will take forward by obtaining legal advice,” he said, adding that it was a positive discussion on how to resume mining activities immediately.

Sawant also said that the government has already begun work of framing a dump policy, which will be ready by July 2019. “The mining dumps are owned by the state government. After finalising policy, we will have to calculate how much mining dump is there in the state,” he said.

The Chief Minister further said the government has decided to e-auction over five million tonne of iron ore by June. “There is only five million tonne of iron ore remaining. Once we find out base price of the iron ore, we will go for e-auctioning,” he said.

Sawant said that once the mining matter is fixed by the Supreme Court for hearing, the state government will file a positive affidavit before the apex court.

Meanwhile, the Chief Minister maintained that the state government has directed the concerned officials to take all precautions and safety measures under disaster management in mining areas during monsoon. “The government has already given directions to the concerned mamlatdars and other officials to take precautions in mining sites and areas during monsoon,” he said, adding that wherever needed, authorities will take help of mining firms for the safety of people residing in mining areas.

Meanwhile, following the meeting with the Chief Minister, the iron ore mining industry in the state indicated satisfaction with the talks.

The Goa Mineral Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA) said, “After discussion with the Chief Minister, the industry is confident that mining resumption is of utmost importance to the government. The government is determined and focussed on immediate resumption of operations.”

According to the industry representative body, the state government while examining resumption of mining will respect all the applicable Acts as well as the applicable Supreme Court judgments.

The iron ore mining industry has been shut down since March 16, 2018, due to the Supreme Court order that cancelled 88 mining leases. The GMOEA has estimated loss of 60,000 direct and indirect jobs due to the closure.

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