Panaji: The government, on Tuesday, estimated 733.72 tonne of iron ore dumps in the state, located in various mining lease areas or in private land and some in forest land.
While the estimation of the quantity is based on the submissions made by individual lease holders in July 2010, the valuation of the dumps is not yet ascertained.
Altogether there are 313 dumps in the state of varying sizes, starting from as small as 0.03 tonne of ore, the largest dump of 61.7 tonne is at Pale and belongs to mining company Chowgule, disclosed the government.
Replying to a question on the status of dumps, stacks and reserves of ore in the state, the Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, who also holds the mines and geology portfolio, said that details of type of material (topsoil, sub-grade ore, overburden, tailing, etc.) and estimated value is yet to be assessed.
The Chief Minister added that other than 733.7 tonne of dump reserves, the state also has 5.33 tonne of leftover iron ore from e-auction sales.
“The government is making an effort to auction the balance unsold iron ore of the e-auction and also come out with a dump policy,” said the Chief Minister.
He said that, the state is exploring all options to restart mining but declined to give a timeframe on the actual restart.
The Chief Minister revealed that the annual plan for utilisation of money collected under the District Mineral Fund (DMF) trust is yet to be finalised. As much as Rs 187.98 has been collected in the DMF since inception, of which Rs 96.15 crore is collected in the north district fund and Rs 91.83 in south district.
Utilization of money collected in the funds is as per DMF Rules 2018. However, only Rs 2 crore out of the funds has been spent so far for supply of drinking water, pumping of water from the mining pits for agriculture and drinking purposes and for arranging school buses for transporting school children.
The government also conceded to depletion in the groundwater in the state on account of mining but disclosed that a proper study on depletion of groundwater is yet to be carried out.
The iron ore mining industry is currently shut in the state after the Supreme Court order in February 2018 quashed 88 leases.