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Wednesday, December 2, 2020

More setback to mining industry, HC refuses to allow transportation of ore outside the leases

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Panaji: The bad news has become order of the day for the mining industry.The  Bombay High Court at Goa bench has set aside the State government’s order allowing transportation of royalty paid iron ore, lying outside the lease areas.

The Division bench comprising of Justice N M Jamdar and Justice Prithviraj Chauhan delivered its order in the petition filed by NGO Goa Foundation, opposing the transportation of ore post March 15, 2018.

The iron ore mining operations have come to halt since March 16, after Supreme Court through an order dated February 7 quashed and set aside the second renewals granted to 88 mining leases.  

Goa Foundation, the NGO, whose petition in the Supreme court had resulted in the quashing of the mining leases, had approached the High Court against State government’s order allowing the transportation of ore.

The Bench in its verdict given today set aside the order of State Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma allowing the transportation and export of the ore which was lying outside the mining leases in the State.

Goa government via an order dated March 21, through Directorate of Mines and Geology (DMG) had allowed transportation of iron ore, lying outside the lease bound areas and for which the royalty was paid by the lease holders. As per the DMG website, total 30,000 tons of such ore is already transported.

The bench also granted four weeks time to the State to decide on who is the owner of the ore which is piled up outside the leases across the State.

The petitioner has sought relief for a declaration that all mineral ores extracted and transported from mining areas (whether lying inside or outside the so-called lease area) are property of the State of Goa and therefore cannot be subject matter of commercial transaction or trade or transport afterMarch 15 by any person other than the State. 

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