SC turns down plea to stop Goa from e-auctioning iron ore

Written by fe Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Oct 15 2014, 08:28am hrs
Refusing to restrain the Goa government from e-auctioning extracted iron ore mined by a Goa-based miner, the Supreme Court on Tuesday reiterated that iron ore mined even before 2007 would vest in the state government, which is the owner of the mineral ores.

Goa-based miner named Bandekar Brothers had questioned the state government's authority to put on auction the mined mineral ore produced by it prior to November 22, 2007, the date till when its mining lease was valid.

It wanted a direction to the state government to allow it to sell mined 67,285 metric tonne of iron ore (grade 63.19% Fe approximately) and 1,00,000 metric tonne of old dump, also called run of mines, (grade 46.15% Fe approximately) on the grounds that the same was extracted during the period when its lease was subsisting, thus the raw material cannot be treated as having been illegitimately mined.

A three-judge green bench dismissed the Bandekar brothers' plea after amicus curie ADN Rao argued that the ore which had remained unremoved after expiry of the six-month period from the date of expiration of the mining lease would be deemed to have vested in the state government.

The Supreme Court had in April lifted the mining ban in Goa but imposed an annual cap of 20 million tonne on the industry. The apex court had in November last year directed the sale of the entire extracted ore, including the inventory of all extracted mineral ore lying at the mine-head or stockyards or jetties or ports, through e-auction.

The Bandekar brothers had argued that they had paid all the dues including the statutory dues and levies, including royalty, on the extracted material.