The Supreme Court on Monday lifted the 18-month old ban on mining in Goa but capped the annual extraction of iron ore at 20 million tonnes. The court has however, deemed all leases granted post 2007 as illegal.
A bench comprising Justices AK Patnaik, SS Nijjar and FMI Kalifulla, said an expert panel will give a final recommendation on annual cap on excavation of iron ore within six months.
“Until the final report is submitted by the expert committee, the state government will, in the interests of sustainable development and inter-generational equity, permit a maximum annual excavation of 20 mt from the mining leases in Goa other than from dumps,” the bench said.
It said the Goa government will formulate a scheme within six months for utilising the funds generated by e-auction.
Further, within six months, the expert panel will recommend how the extracted dumps are to be utilised, it said.
Among other directions, the bench said 50 per cent of the wages and DA has to be paid to the workers on the muster rolls of the mining leases who have not been paid their wages during the period of suspension of mining operations.
The court said 10 per cent of the e-auction will be appropriated towards the Goan Iron Ore Permanent Fund.
The bench had said it cannot go into the policy matter and will only address the regulatory aspect involved in it. The expert panel had recommended to the Goa government to form a mining corporation or a public sector company in view of ‘illegalities’ by private miners.