Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on 17 March 2015 revoked a three-year-old order that banned mining in Goa. This revocation will pave the way for resumption of iron ore extraction in 72 mines out of total 89 mines in the state.
The remaining 17 mining areas are located within the one-kilometre radius of wildlife sanctuaries.
The revocation was disclosed by Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar. The decision to lift the ban on mining was taken as per the directives of the Supreme Court.
Now, the Goa government will have to decide the ore extraction limits for individual miners so that total mining does not exceed the cap of 20 million tonnes (20MT) set by the apex court for all output in Goa.
The Supreme Court in April 2014 had lifted the ban on mining but ruled that the iron ore extraction would require clearances by the union environment ministry and approval from the state government. It also set a cap of 20MT a year.
Former Union Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan in 2012 had suspended environmental clearances for 89 mining leases in Goa. She suspended the clearances after a commission chaired by former Supreme Court Justice MB Shah submitted a report highlighting rampant illegal e3xtraction of the raw material in the state.
Natarajan’s order of 2012 brought a halt in the practice of iron ore mining in the state, where irregularities in mining, inaction, abuse of law and regulations were estimated to have contributed to a 35000 crore rupees mining scam.
When: 17 March 2015