SC panel to examine iron ore stacks before e-auction

Panaji, Dec 7: A Supreme Court-appointed committee will Sunday inspect iron ore stacked at a Goa port which will be later slotted for e-auction, a panel member said.

Speaking to reporters after meeting state government officials, U V Singh, an Indian Forest Service officer, said that the team would inspect 10 million plus tons of extracted ore iron ore Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) and clear it for e-auctioning.

“The committee met Goa government officials today (Saturday) to work out the modalities for inspection of iron ore at MPT tomorrow (Sunday),” he said.

After banning all iron ore mining and export activity for more than a year, the Supreme Court last month had allowed e-auctioning of nearly 11 million tons of iron ore already extracted and stacked at the port.

The revenues earned from the sale however would not be handed over to the mining companies, which extracted it, but would be held in escrow, until the origin and legality of the ore is established.

The state government will however be allowed to pocket the tax and royalty revenue earned from the e-auction.

The committee, which Singh is a member of, is expected to identify and quantify the exact amount of ore, which is available for export.

Iron ore mining was banned in Goa in October 2013 by the Supreme Court some months after a judicial commission exposed a Rs.35,000 crore illegal mining scam in the state in which politicians, bureaucrats as well as mining company magnates are linked.