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Nathurmal mines inching towards resuming operations



Giving  green signal to  Nathurmal mines in Harvalem, Sankhli, the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority  on Thursday granted environmental clearance  to the lease for extraction of iron ore. 

The Nathurmal mines with annual capacity of 73,500 tonne of iron ore is categorised by the SEIAA as ‘Category B’ and screened under Schedule 1 (a) mining of minerals as per the schedule annexed to the Environment Impact Assessment  Notification 2006 and  the amendment to the EIA Notification no: S O 3977 (E) dated August 14 2018.

The lease area of the Nathurmal mines is 85.85 hectares. Now  its mining plan will have to get approval from the Indian Bureau of Mines, Margao, to commence operations, leaseholder Harish Melwani explained.

He added that other permissions required to restart the mining operations are the consent to operate from the Goa State Pollution Control Board and the NOC from the local panchayat. 

A working lease, the Nathurmal mines was in production from 1953 to 2012. It had an  EC issued by the Union ministry of environment and forests on April 16 2007. The valid lease of the mine is presently until March 2020.

Melwani disclosed that he applied for extension of the mining lease until 2030 based on captive use under the MMDR (Amendment) Act 2015. He   is hopeful of the extension order coming through.  

The government is keen on reviving iron ore mining industry in the state by giving permissions to leases that have been not quashed by the Supreme Court.

The Nathurmal mines is among the 18 mines identified by the state with potential for restarting. It is among the 300 mining leases that do not come under the ambit of the February 7 2018 order of the SC that quashed 88 leases. 

The state gave permission for the Nathurmal mines to start operations sometime in May 2019 after which the application for the EC had been  made around June 2019.

Of the 18 leases, three mining companies had approached the government for permission to restart.

The closure of the mining industry  in the state will soon complete two

years. The industry came to a halt on March 16 2018. 

The SC recently allowed mining companies in the state to transport royalty paid ore. The state has 9.5 million of extracted ore which is available for transportation.

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