KOLKATA (miningweekly.com) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stepped in to find a political and legislative solution for the 88 iron-ore mines that have been closed in the western coastal state of Goa since last year.
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said in a statement that in the course of a meeting of the National Institute for Transformation of India Commission (NITI Aayog), the Prime Minister stated that the closure of the iron-ore mines had continued for too long and that it required an “immediate resolution”.
The Prime Minister directed NITI Aayog to prepare a report to resolve the crisis in Goa iron-ore mines, the Chief Minister said.
Modi also assured that the issue of closed Goa mines would be discussed during the ongoing session of Parliament to evolve a political consensus and find legislative solutions in view of the Supreme Court verdict of last year.
In February 2018, the Supreme Court in a ruling ordered closure of all 88 iron-ore mines in Goa effective March 15, 2018, maintaining that the renewal of mining leases of these iron-ore mines by the state government was illegal.
According to the apex court, since the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act 2015 had made auction mandatory to the granting of mining lease for all mineral assets, the Goa government’s move to unilaterally renew expired mining leases without holding auctions was illegal and existing miners could not legally continue mining operations across the state.