The Goa chapter of Mining Engineer's Association of India (MEAI) has appealed Chief Minister Pramod Sawant for an immediate resumption of mining to address the unemployment crisis and earn much-needed revenue for the state.
The industry body, through the letter, pointed out that auction is not suitable for sustainable mineral development in Goa, owing to the peculiar land-related legacies in the state, and pending matter in the court.
Furthermore, due to adverse cost consequences and decreased mining industry, the auction will render the mines unusable, impacting state royalty and mineral income.
It also indicated reservations about the state government's current efforts to identify and grant mining blocks/greenfield leases through an auction process, citing a lack of clarity about procedures such as "exploration," which is critical for determining the feasibility of a business and ensuring a fair and competitive auctioning process.
The MEAI further said that the auction might not be enough to make up for lost state revenue or jobs owing to the extended suspension of operating mines. It was noted that throughout the last three years of mine closure, mining experts faced challenges not only in terms of finances, but also in terms of retaining talent and technical experience.
MEAI asserted to Chief Minister, that auctioning mining leases is against the spirit of ease of doing business and is unfeasible due to a pending legal case in the Supreme Court since 1998 regarding concessionary rights.
Chairman of MEAI, Cletus D'Souza stated, "The mining industry has been the lifeline of the Goan economy for over 70 years supporting the livelihood of almost 300,000 people. The sector still has the potential to bounce back and be the highest revenue generator for the state and create massive employment once operations commence. Government must not let ulterior motives derail its efforts to restart mining operations and bring relief to mining dependents and the state's ailing economy".
MEAI also stated that it would be unfair if the state of Goa was not granted an extension as per Mines And Minerals Development And Regulation act (MMDR) and grant of 50 years as compared to the rest of India.
They also demanded clarification on whether the Goa Iron Ore Permanent Fund (GIOPF) would be maintained for the proposed greenfield blocks, as well as if the 20-million-tonne carrying capacity would be relevant.