‘Mining business in state may end by 2020’

The mining business in the state may end as early as 2020, if mining operations continue at the present officially permitted rate, the report by the Justice M B Shah Commission of Inquiry, has said, quoting figures from Indian Bureau of Mines (IBM).

"By taking the data of IBM for iron ore resources and reserve (i.e. 927 million tonnes), as submitted by Shri N R Khan, IBM, Nagpur, in the State of Goa, minus the ore already extracted, the iron ore from the State of Goa would be exhausted by the year 2020," Mr Justice Shah has pointed out, noting: "Hence, in real terms, in the most of the working mines, the quality (+55 grade) iron ore is likely to disappear from the state of Goa much earlier as predicted."

He also warned that these estimates are as per mining industry itself or "interested parties."

"Further, it is pertinent to state here that no independent authority or government authority has made the estimate for proven reserve in the state. All the data are provided by the lessees who are the interested parties," he said.

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has approved Environmental Clearances for 166 leases in Goa for a total production of 65.692 million tonnes per year and this would be see that iron ore would last for less than 10 years in the state.

According to UNFC report of April 2005, the total haematite resources of iron ore in the country is estimated to 14.6 billion tonnes and out of that about 713 million tonne or 5 per cent is located in Goa.

So far, as per the Department of Mines since 2000–01 onwards, the official production is around 300 million tonne.

"By deducting the quantity of iron ore already produced and removed, the reserve remains in the state of Goa would be around 413 million tonne of +55 grade and above. (i.e. 713 – 300 = 413) Further, if we take average production of 30 million tonne per year, the iron ore reserve would last for another 14 years or so (+55 grade) in the state," Shah report says, quoting different sources.

Arguing that presently total production of steel, pig-iron, sponge iron and others in the country is about 98 million tones per year with an average consumption of 175 million tonne of iron ore, the report says "To achieve the planned target of 200 million tonne per annum by 2020, India may require 350 million tonne iron ore for domestic consumption of the grade of +55 and above." [NT]