NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court upheld its verdict holding illegal all the mining leases in Goa after 2007 and dismissed a plea by a mining company seeking to restrain the Goa government from selling the iron ore extracted by it.
A Bench of Justice J S Khehar, Justice J Chelameswar and Justice A K Sikri said, “It is difficult for us to accept the prayers made by the applicant, either for the release of the extracted mineral ore to the applicant, or the liberty to sell the same as its own.”
The mining company, Bandekar Brothers Private Limited, in its plea before the court, contended that it had extracted 67,285 tonnes of iron ore (Grade 63.19 per cent Fe approximately) and 1,00,000 tonnes of old dump (grade 46.15 per cent Fe approximately) before November 22, 2007 when its mining leases were valid. Thus iron ore mined prior to that could not be taken over and sold by the government.
The court in its April 21 verdict had said that all the mining leases in Goa had expired on November 22, 1987, and granting maximum renewal period of 20 years, their deemed renewal too came to end on November 22, 2007, thus all deemed mining leases after that were illegal.
The court had said this while sustaining the September 10, 2012, order of the Goa government suspending mining operations in the state and the order of Ministry of Environment and Forests suspending the envoirmental clearances.