SC lifts Goa mining ban, fixes annual cap
The Supreme Court on Monday allowed an annual cap of 20 million tonnes of iron ore to be extracted in Goa which was banned by it in the state for nearly one-and-a-half years.
A bench comprising justices A K Patnaik, S S Nijjar and F M I Kalifulla, however, said expert panel will give final a recommendation on annual cap on excavation of iron ore within six months. It said there cannot be a deemed renewal of lease after 2007 of the existing lease deeds emanating from 1962 onwards. It also said there will be no grant of lease for mining around one km of national parks and wild life sanctuaries.
The court directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to identify eco-sensitive areas around national parks within six months. It said the Goa government will formulate a scheme within six months for utilising the funds generated by e-auction. The bench said that the workers on rolls of all mining firms will be paid 50 per cent of the wage during the period for which they were out of work because of the apex court stay on the mining activity. Further, within six months, the expert panel will recommend how the extracted dumps are to be utilised, it said.