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Goa holds an auction for four iron ore mining blocks

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Goa holds an auction for four iron ore mining blocks

The Goa government began the process to restart mining in the state, which was halted in September 2012, on Friday by inviting bidders to submit financial and technical bids for four iron ore blocks by November 21.

The initial 90 blocks with active mining leases when the prohibition went into effect are the Monte de Sirigao, Sirigao-Mayem Bicholim, and Kalay blocks. A number of these leases have recently been combined into blocks that will be sold at auction.

After paying the cost on an online auction platform, November 15 is the last day to buy the tender documents. The deadline for submission of proposals is November 21.

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The government requested that the 88 mining leaseholders who were in possession of the leases turn over their control by the end of June in May. The lease renewals were cancelled by the Supreme Court.

An order on a petition against the Goa government’s decision to revoke the leases has been reserved by the Bombay High Court in Goa.

It is not anticipated that mining would start off right away. According to the tender document, the winning bidder must first secure new approvals for the forest, the wildlife, and the environment.

In order to support state finances, the former Portuguese colonialists issued a decree granting mining rights in 1906. In 1929, the first mining concession was granted. 791 mining concessions were issued between the 1930s and 1950s, granting the owners perpetual mining rights.

The Mines and Minerals Development Act of 1987 allowed for the conversion of the concessions into leases. The Supreme Court determined that the leases’ terms expired in 2007 and requested that new leases be issued by the government. The Supreme Court is still being challenged by the historical leaseholders’ requests for enforceable leases.

Mining in Goa increased to 54 million tonnes per year in 2012, according to the association of legacy leaseholders known as the Goa Mineral Ore Exporters. Due to an increase in Chinese demand for ore, it nearly doubled between 2004–2005 and 2010 from about 24 million tonnes to 45 million tonnes. Around 10 million tonnes of iron ore were produced annually in Goa in 1970.

According to a National Council for Applied Economic Research research, the mining industry employed 19,000 people directly in 2010–11 out of a labour force of about 600,000, contributing about 6500 crore, or 16.94%, to the state’s GDP.

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