The union environment ministry has cancelled the environment clearance given to Pirna Iron Ore Mines owned by Sesa Goa, a subsidiary of the Vedanta Group, for concealing information in the environment impact assessment (EIA) report.
The EIA report is the basis for appraising projects for green clearance.
In August 2009, the ministry had given the nod to the mine spread over 43 hectares across the Pirna and Nadora villages in north Goa, with an extraction limit of 2 lakh tonnes.
On Wednesday, the ministry informed the National Green Tribunal — where the matter has been challenged — that it has cancelled the clearance on grounds of deliberate concealment of information through an order dated August 29, 2009. Sesa Goa is among the four major mining companies in Goa.Sanjay Choudhry, spokesperson for Vedanta, said, "The cancellation of the environment clearance for the Pirna lease, which is a very small mine, is an old issue, where Sesa Goa had voluntarily withdrawn its clearance application when it was discovered that our application was deficient on some counts.
“No mining has occurred at the mine even though clearance was granted. Mining at the Pirna lease was never considered part of our business plans.”
The cancellation comes at a time when the Goa government is facing criticism for illegal mining. HT has, in a series of reports, shown how illegal mining has cost Goa at least Rs3,000 crore, and how A Raja as union environment minister issued 169 mining clearances. HT has also revealed how mines have been operating in forest areas without necessary clearances.
The EIA report for the Pirna mine concealed that it was within the 10-km buffer zone of a reserved forest.