Panaji, Feb 17 (Calcutta Tube) Virtually endorsing claims of the opposition about rampant illegal mining in the state, a major organisation of ore traders Wednesday said in many cases in Goa iron ore is extracted by ‘unscrupulous elements’ who do not have mining leases.
‘The demand for iron ore leases in Goa is on the increase and there are instances wherein holders of these non-operational leases have been approached by traders with the intent of operating them for quick gains,’ Goa Mineral and Ore Exporters Association (GMOEA) secretary Glen Kalavampara said in a pressnote here.
‘In a few cases, there even appear to be mining activities carried out without even a lease being granted,’ he said, adding that such illegal mines fail to adhere to any of the ‘necessary norms and regulations that are statutorily followed by established mining companies’ operating in the state.
Kalavampara said the association had received several complaints of ore being stolen from open heaps.
‘There are numerous instances of ore having been stolen from dumps and stacks of major mining companies at night as well as pilferage in cases of spillage by the transporters,’ he said, adding that ‘the ore finds its way to unscrupulous buyers who are now gaining entry into export of bulk minerals’.
Appealing to the state government to curb illegal mining, Kalavampara said: ‘Such uncontrolled activities by short-term players affect the operations of the mainstream industry as all gets tarred with the same brush.’
The GMOEA represents the Rs.6,000 crore mining industry in Goa, which exports nearly 33 million tonnes of ore annually.
Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar has already alleged that nearly 18 per cent of the ore exported from Goa is illegal.
Parrikar has in the recent past also claimed in the Goa legislative assembly that several cabinet ministers in the Congress-led coalition government ran illegal mining operations near the wildlife sanctuaries in Goa’s hinterland.