Goa mining industry welcomes renewal of iron ore leases
New Delhi: The mining industry and its dependents have welcomed Goa government's move to renew the leases for resumption of iron ore tapping, suspended for last two years following a Supreme Court order.
The state government recently approved renewal of 13 mining leases. It is likely to renew 8-10 more leases in the next few days, official sources said.
"The news with regard to the renewal of certain lease areas is a positive step towards commencement of the sector, which has been in suspended animation for over two years," said Fomento Resources Managing Director Ambar Timblo, whose four mining leases have been renewed.
"There is still a long way to go, but this is the first step in that direction," he said.
Representatives of the mining dependents also welcomed the state government's move.
"The government has started sanctioning the leases, it is a happy situation. But, we feel that the Supreme Court judgement had come in April (2014) and hence, it is too little too late," Goa Mining People's Front (GMPF) leader Christopher Fonseca said.
The process of renewal has to be accelerated in the interest of the people of Goa and the country. Goa's economy has suffered due to the ban and corrective measures are required on an urgent basis, he said.
"It (mining) is already closed for last two years and we can't afford to lose one more season. The mining season in Goa ends in April while it will take another 3-4 months to secure all regulatory approvals. So, the government needs to save the season, but it has to be done by taking into consideration all aspects," he said.
Mining operations are likely to resume only by January-March quarter as other regulatory clearances, including environment nod, have to be sought by lease-holders, a government official had earlier said.
The state government, in its Goa Grant of Mining Leases Policy, quantified the impact of 2-year mining closure at USD 8 billion (about Rs 48,000 crore). The impact of ban on mining also reflected on the country's GDP growth, which plunged to below 5 per cent in the last two fiscals while the mining sector has been reporting negative growth for last three years, as per official figures.