Miners for legality check before e-auction of stacked iron ore

Ahead of e-auctioning of stacked iron ore by the Goa government, some mine owners have demanded that legality of the ore should be established before the process is set in motion.

In an official representation made recently to state Chief Secretary B Vijayan, a section of mine owners have emphasised that the quality and legality of the ore be ascertained before its online auction.

The state government will e-auction around 15 million metric tonnes of ore stacked at jetties and also in the mining lease areas.

"We are not against e-auctioning but let the buyer know whether he is buying legal ore or illegal ore. Directorate of Mines and Geology has confiscated nearly 4 million metric tonne of illegal ore lying at various plots," said Harish Melwani, a mine owner who has signed the representation along with others.

"What about the balance 11 million metric tonnes. Though it belongs to various mine owners, its legality is still not clear," he said.

A Supreme Court-appointed committee headed by U V Singh would monitor online auctioning which is likely to happen by mid-February.

The Goa government while pitching for e-auctioning had said the excavated mineral ores should be allowed to be transported as early as possible owing to environmental concerns.

Extracted mineral ores cannot be put back and if these are allowed to remain in the mines or stockyards, the environment would be polluted, the state government said.

Melwani said the government did not consider legal aspect in its policy on online auction of stacked iron ore.

Another miner said on the condition of anonymity that "e-auction process to some extent has failed in Karnataka, where it was experimented first. We don't want a similar situation in Goa too. The government needs to look for other alternatives".

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