Auctioning of mines will make mining unworkable due to adverse cost implications, the Goa chapter of the Mining Engineers Association of India has written to Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Friday, while also expressing apprehension about the state government’s process of granting mining blocks through auction.
“Auction is not suitable for sustainable mineral development in Goa, owing to the peculiar land-related legacies in the state and a pending matter in the court. Further, auction will make the mines unworkable owing to adverse cost implications and reduced mining business, thus affecting State royalty and mineral revenues,” the letter said.
Expressing apprehension about the ongoing efforts of the Goa government to “identify and grant” mining blocks through the auction process, the letter also said that there was “little clarity about the procedures like ‘exploration, which is fundamental for working out the feasibility of business and for ensuring the fair and competitive auctioning process.
The Association has also said that the process of auctioning of mining leases is “against the spirit of ease of doing business” citing the ongoing litigation vis a vis concessionary rights related to mining leases which is ongoing in the apex court.
Fresh mining excavation in the state has been shut down since 2018, when the Supreme Court of India scrapped renewal of 88 mining leases citing irregularities.
The Goa government’s decision to opt for the auctioning route to restart mining comes ahead of the 2022 state Assembly polls and the ruling BJP-led coalition dispensation has come under fire for not being able to restart the mining sector which when at its peak accounted for nearly 30 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.
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,” Cletus D’Souza, chairman of the association also said in a statement issued here.