【Ferro-alloys.com】:The Goa Cabinet has approved a "dump" policy that could bring an annual 25 million tonnes (mnt) of low-grade iron ore to the market, provided it passes muster with the Supreme Court.
These giant dumps of ore totalling an estimated 700 mnt lying within and often outside leaseholds that were considered too poor for Goa's original clients, the Japanese steel mills, found new markets with the Chinese boom. Boon to miners and anyone who could lay their hands on them, they attracted the belated scrutiny of regulators. In 2013, the state government moved to regularise this widespread and quite common practice, seeking from the leaseholders a 'conversion of land use' fee for use of private and government land outside their leaseholds.
However, the SC decided that any dump outside the leasehold was illegal, and that the leases themselves had lapsed. The state was asked to inventory all mined ore lying about and auction them, and later directed to auction leases themselves. A committee to decide the fate of this approximately 700 mnt of low-grade ore lying around had also been constituted.
The Pramod Sawant government's new policy relies on this six-member committee's 12 April, 2015 report. It is treating dumps which had been declared to the IBM through mining plans differently, opening a window of five years for Goa's erstwhile leaseholders.
Dumps that had never been declared on a mining plan, as well as dumps on government land (whether or not declared in the mining plan), will be auctioned by the government. If the erstwhile lessee has declared these dumps in his mining plan, and regularised his use of private land outside the lease with a conversion fee, he will be allowed to remove the ore within five years on payment of royalty. Dumps that are subject of the state's Special Investigation team's inquiry will also be disposed of as "the continued presence of the dump in no manner facilitates or assists the investigation," says the policy.
There are still several compliance obligations that will have to be met: an individual dump handling plan, proof of ownership and right over the site, maybe a 'no objection certificate' from the forest department even if the recent amendment to the Forest Conservation Act may exempt, and an approval from the MoEF. The Directorate of Mines and Geology had only last month invited firms to bid to carry out a drone lidar survey of dumps. This exercise alone will take at least a few months, said an industry source. The state government plans to seek special permission from the MoEF for dumps in forest areas or within wildlife sanctuaries.