While 32.29 million tonnes of iron ore was extracted from the 44 operational mining leases in Goa over the last two years, only 17.64 million was exported during the period, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the state legislative assembly on Friday. Parrikar, who is also the Goa’s mines minister, said that leases of several mines were not being operated by their respective lessees due to “economic reasons”. To a question by Congress MLA Jennifer Monserrate, Parrikar in his written reply, tabled during the ongoing winter session of the state assembly, said: “Total quantity extracted from September 2015 to October 2017 is 32.29 million tonnes. The exports come under Customs and Central Excise department of the central government, however total exports from September 2015 to November 2017 was 17.64 million tonnes.”
To another question by Monserrate, Parrikar said that there were 32 mining tracts, which had not commenced operations, despite their leases being renewed. “Most of the mines are awaiting decision of Supreme Court on working within a 1 km buffer zone from protected areas. The rest are either complying with legal requirement or are unable to operate for economic reasons,” Parrikar said. Goa’s mining sector is trying to make a comeback after a Rs 35,000 crore illegal scam rocked the industry and resulted in a string of bans, including one by the Supreme Court in 2012. After the bans were revoked three years ago, lower prices in the international market for low grade iron ore has deterred mining lease holders from investing in restarting their ore extraction operations.