In a sharp turn-around, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government said Monday there was no illegal mining underway in the state.
"There are no illegal mines operating in Goa," chief minister Manohar Parrikar said in a written reply in state assembly.
Parrikar, who is also the minister for mines, was grilled by Cortalim legislator Mauvin Godinho on whether the government had quantified the loss to the state exchequer due to illegal mining from 2007.
"We do not have much illegal mining. What is happening is mining of dumps. Chartered accountants will be asked to audit mines extraction," Parrikar said.
Parrikar and the BJP had in the past led the charge against illegal mining in Goa and had alleged a Rs.25,000 crore scam in the state.
Parrikar, along with other senior BJP leaders, had accused several people, including former chief minister Digambar Kamat, for sheltering Goa's illegal mining mafia.
The chief minister sought to make a distinction between illegal mining and illegal export of ore.
"As and when unauthorized extraction is noticed, action is initiated against defaulters. Further, existing leases are inspected and in case of any discrepancy or deviation action is initiated and penalty is imposed," Parrikar said.
"The ore export is illegal. Mining is a process. Operating mines are working legally, but there are irregularities," the chief minister said.
"The draft mining policy will be coming out in 25 days. Within seven days the policy will be finalised. Unless there is a policy we cannot stop it," Parrikar added.