Union Minister of States of Environment and Forest Shri Jairam Ramesh informed Mr. Shantaram Naik M.P., in the Rajya Sahba today, in the written reply that the mining activity can only be undertaken after obtaining environmental clearance under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, and that the Ministry has, so far, granted environmental clearance to 111 iron ore projects in Goa during the period fro September 2006 to 30th November 2009.
The Minister further informed Mr. Naik that the Ministry has, so far, granted 46 forest clearances for mining of iron ore under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 in the State of Goa. However, only 23 iron ore mines are operating after obtaining the approval to their renewal proposals at present. In respect of remaining 23 mines, the approvals granted earlier have since been expired with effect from 27.11.2007.
He also informed that as per the information received from the State Government, three mines have been rejected renewal permissions recently by the Director of mines and Geology, Government of Goa. Revocation of none of them has been received till date.
The environmentalists are primarily raising two issues against the mining activities in the State of Goa – (i) permitting mining within one km area from the boundary of the national park/sanctuary, and (ii) granting evironmental clearance to a mining lease involving both forest and non-forest areas, the minister said. he Iron ore produced in the state of Goa is of low grade having of content ranging between 58% and 62%, which does not have ready market in the Country. The iron ore, therefore, is exporter to other countries after resorting to beneficiation. Goa exports 60% of Indias Iron Ore. During the year 2008, about 46 million tones of iron ore was exported from the country, the minister further states.