The Apex court on 30 January approved a plea filed by a mining firm Chowgule and Company Private Limited, which sought transportation of iron ore in Goa, extracted till March 2018.
The three-judge bench comprising of Chief Justice SA Bobde, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant directed the mining firm, Chowgule and Company Private Limited to transport the already mined iron ore lying unused at various sites in the state, within six months, starting from 30 January, provided that the firm has paid a royalty to the concerned authorities and has obtained valid permissions for transportation.
“The appellants/ mining leaseholders would be permitted to transport the royalty paid ore/mineral from the jetties/stockyard or pitheads based on the valid transit permits issued to them by the competent authority,” asserted the bench.
The bench upheld the Goa government’s decision that permitted transportation of minerals which was mined before 15 March 2018 and stated that the Bombay High Court has erroneously directed the miners to stop all mining operations with effect from 16 March 2018.
“We see no reason why the owners should not be allowed to transport their ore,” stated the apex court in its judgment.
In September 2012, all the mining activity in Goa came to a halt, after Justice MB Shah Commission reported illegal mining by various top companies, which was tabled in the Parliament that focused on the politician-bureaucrat-mining companies’ nexus. However, in 2014, the apex court has eventually lifted the ban, canceling all the existing mining leases and issuing fresh leases. The court has further approved an annual cap of 20 million tonnes of iron ore to be extracted in Goa.