The state govt has withdrawn Goa Grant of Mining Leases policy 2014 and now the Iron ore mining leases will be auctioned and it will not be renewed any longer, in the near future as per provision made in the Central Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act. Chief Minister spoke on mining issue on Thursday, where he mentioned many changes in the 2014 policy.
Updating the policy after cabinet meeting, Parsekar cautioned that if mining companies whose leases have been renewed, failed to restart operations after monsoon during the coming mining season beginning in October, the government will take appropriate steps, including withdrawal of the lease renewals. The government has renewed 89 mining leases, which will expire in 2027, and some mining companies have already restarted operations in the state.
Addressing the media, Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar said that, “the cabinet decided to withdraw the Goa Grant of Mining Lease Policy, 2014 under which 89 mining leases have been renewed under section 8 (3) of the Mines and Minerals Development Regulation (MMDR) Act.”
At present almost 15 mining companies have already restarted operations and the government is expecting more in the next two months.According to the Chief Minister there could be more mining activity in the state.
The immediate auction of mines will be subject to a Supreme Court decision on whether to increase the annual cap on fresh iron ore extraction. Chief Minister also mentioned that, “Henceforth grant of leases shall be by the auction mode as per Section 10 B of the MMDR (amendment) Act 2015.”
The renewal of these mining leases were done as per the Supreme Court judgment in April 21, 2014, wherein it was said that the State has to decide as a matter of policy in what manner mining leases are to be granted in future.
The Chief Minister said, the State lease renewal policy was based upon earlier provisions of the MMDR Act 1957 prior to the amendment in 2015 and as such this policy is not relevant any longer.
“The government will submit a fresh affidavit before the Apex Court informing of this decision, in a petition filed by Goa Foundation challenging renewals of these leases.” said Parsekar, the State Mines Minister.
The chief minister also warned of severe action in the form of cancelation of leases, if the mine owners fail to commence operations during the coming mining season. “I wanted a majority of them to commence operations in the on -going season but due to several issues related to the market and taxation, it could not happen,” CM said.
State Mines Minister also added that,“Now with slashing of export duty and also State taxes, I don’t find any reason for mine owners to delay the activities further.”
So now the need has come to start mining leases as soon as possible in the coming season. The decision has been given by the government to withdraw policy of granting mining leases. The government and the mine owners, both are waiting to take the next step on this decision. Till then we can only wait and watch when this year long issue, in the name of progress will come to its final conclusion and settle down properly.